59454605Hurt Locker” star Jeremy Renner hit New York this week with a thunderclap. On Tuesday morning he and co-star Anthony Mackie were on the “Today” show when word came that Renner was nominated for an Academy Award ‘ best actor. He and Mackie embraced. Back in September 2008, when “The Hurt Locker” debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, it was an indie film with no budget. The actors had no publicists. The whole thing was a crap shoot.

Now Mackie is rehearsing on Broadway for a major play. And Renner did “Letterman” and some other shows. I ran into him last night at the Greenwich Hotel having drinks. He’d just been at dinner up at Elaine’s with his manager Beth Holden and publicist Sue Patricola and the famed Bobby Zarem. When the waitresses at the Greenwich realized who he was, they fetched Renner his favorite drink: Woodford Reserve mash bourbon. It went down smooth. He was joined for a bit by Oscar Isaac, from the upcoming “Sucker Punch” and “Robin Hood.” Isaac just found out his long-awaited “Agora” opens in May.

A year ago, Renner was on a short-lived TV series that followed “Lost” and no one remembers. “The Hurt Locker” was still mostly unknown to everyone. Now he’s a star. He just finished “The Town,” directed by Ben Affleck, with Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively. It sounds like a winner.

What did he do before this? In 2002, he played Jeffrey Dahmer in a feature film. Don’t hold it against him. No one knew he’d be an overnight sensation after 15 years in the business.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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