Action stars don’t usually get a good rub from the movie industry, particularly during the awards season. With that said, the landscape looks set to change in 2016 with Mad Max: Fury Road in the running for Best Picture, and nominated in a multitude of other categories. With an action film prepared to dominate the awards ceremony — and the pre-awards buzz has been significant — it’s only fitting that a veteran legend of the action genre finally gets a chance to shine.
After his Golden Globe success in the Best Supporting Actor category for Creed last week, as reported by Rolling Stone, Sylvester Stallone is hoping to repeat the feat at the Academy Awards in February. Stallone’s journey to the Academy Awards has been a long and arduous one, fraught with pitfalls and mixed career choices, but the actor has revitalised his career in recent times, and many indicators state that 2016 is his year to win. Can he actually take home a golden statue?
Earlier today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the complete list of this year’s Oscar nominations and, as expected, Sylvester Stallone’s name was amongst the Best Supporting Actor nominees. The nomination will come as no surprise to the critics, as the 69-year-old actor provided an absolutely heartbreaking performance as his infamous character, the aging boxer with nothing left to fight for, Rocky Balboa.
He will face stiff competition, though, from a slew of the greatest acting talent in the world today. The other nominees for the Best Supporting Actor award are Christian Bale in The Big Short, Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, Tom Hardy in The Revenant, and Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies. Although the actors all gave a strong performance in their respective movies, it makes you wonder if Stallone will win for playing one of cinema’s most beloved heroes, since none of the other characters have the iconography of the one and only Rocky Balboa. Watching the former champion dealing with his own mortality and loneliness is heart-breaking, and shows a vulnerable side to the character that hasn’t been so stark or obvious in previous movies. If 2016 isn’t his year, there may never be another chance.
After seven movies spanning thirty-nine years, Stallone has taken his most pivotal role and given it a lick of paint, as well as a breath of fresh air. Balboa is no longer a star, a champion, he’s a shell of his former self, trying to realize old glories by training Adonis Creed, the son of his former friend, Apollo Creed, who died at the hands of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Along the way, he faces some personal struggles of his own, which inspire the younger Creed to strive for glory. Its an outstanding performance from an actor that has been a part of the Hollywood echelon for so many years.
It’s a career flecked with many highs and lows. Most fans can name the pros on their left hand — Rocky, Rambo, The Expendables — but one little film they may be forgetting is Copland, the 1997 thriller directed by James Mangold. This film saw Stallone shed the muscle, pile on the pounds, and portray an everyday, honest sheriff caught up in the murky affairs of small town corruption. Despite some negative buzz, this demure turn showed that Stallone had the acting chops to merit contention for the highest gold, much like his infamous boxer alter-ego.
If Sylvester Stallone was to finally claim Oscar gold, Creed is probably the most fitting film for him to do it with. Stallone has walked this tumultuous path before, long before he was a household name or a bona fide action superstar. Back in 1977, the fledging filmmaker was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Rocky, the first film in the franchise. Rocky Balboa was introduced to the cinema masses, and Stallone’s imprint on the industry has been present ever since. The win would mark a successful career for the actor, and it would be a poignant victory if he claimed gold for a successful franchise he started all those years ago.
Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, and Phylicia Rashad, Creed will be available on DVD and Blu-ray soon.
[Image via MGM Pictures]