Sylvester Stallone could quite possibly be one of the most multi-talented people in Hollywood and it’s something that is very easily overlooked by movie fans. Everyone knows That Sly was a struggling, broke, almost wanna be, actor when he created one of the most beloved and cherished American characters in cinematic history with Rocky Balboa. What they don’t always realize are the many films aside from Rocky that he has written, directed and made into blockbuster hits and even ones he’s tried to stretch his legs on.
For a kid growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was always a debate at school amongst my friends as to who was better, Stallone or Schwarzenegger. For a 9 or 10 year old kid who wasn’t allowed to see R rated movies, which was what Arnold predominantly made, I was much more drawn to Sly, who had the occasional family friendly movies like the Rocky films and others like Over The Top.
Much like Rocky himself, Sly’s career has had its peaks and valleys. Early in the 2000’s it appeared that Stallone was all but done with having his name on the marquee after quite a few serious flops which included the least successful and least well received up to that point with Rocky V. Even Sly doesn’t shy away from admitting its faults and even the faults with some other films. But then in 2006, after a 16 year hiatus from his most beloved character, he felt the need to close out Rocky’s story in a way he could be proud. He went back to the writing table and penned what was to be the final installment in the franchise with Rocky Balboa. He took the character in a direction that hadn’t been as relatable to since the original film. Seeing that the first film mirrored Sly himself in many ways and thoughts, it’s safe to say that Balboa was doing the same thing for him at the time. With a few very inspirational and memorable scenes and some rousing dialogue, Rocky Balboa worked and left fans feeling satisfied with the end of the franchise.
Sly was personally nominated for 2 Oscars, one for writing and one for acting in 1976 and the film received 10 nominations in total and won the big prize for best picture. Oscar gold eluded Sly personally that night but left him feeling no voids being that Rocky was his baby that he refused to sell off for a paycheck. His career took off after that and he has been a household name ever since. Aside from occasionally presenting an award, Oscar night has never been one that Stallone needed to keep clear on his schedule. This February may be a completely different situation for Sly because there is a VERY good chance that his beloved Rocky could have a second date with Oscar.
The newest film in the franchise, which came out of nowhere AND out of the mind of someone OTHER than Stallone himself, Creed is one of the films generating early Oscar buzz and it’s gotten louder and louder leading up to its release on November 25th. I posted my review 10 days ago and gave it glowing reviews. So why am I discussing it again? It’s pretty straight forward, this is Stallone’s strongest chance since 1976 to walk away with a personal statue for portraying the character that made him one of the biggest stars in the history of cinema.
It would be unprecedented for a franchise to take home a major award, like an actor, or in this case supporting actor. Just a side note, don’t count this out for SEVERAL more nominations, including the top prize. I personally feel that nothing would be more fitting than for Stallone to walk home with his own Academy Award for this film at this time in his career.
There’s been many times when some older and established actors garner nominations for a once in a lifetime role. Last year I wanted nothing more that night than to see Michael Keaton win the best actor for Birdman, because he’s not the type of actor that comes across roles like that and pulls out performances like he did. Keaton is well liked and very well respected and it would have been nice for him and his career to have that moment. Things were very similar for Mickey Rourke when he turned in a tour de force in his “comeback” role in The Wrestler. They both didn’t get their moment on the stage to say thank you and for their peers and fans to likewise say thank you to them.
As much as I love those two guys, I think nothing could be more deserving than for Stallone to get that moment. The reason this is most fitting is because he truly deserves it, his acting is the best he’s ever done and some of the best of the year period. This wouldn’t be a lifetime achievement award without calling it that, much like has been said about John Wayne’s win for True Grit. The saying, “the stars are aligned” tends to be over used, but nothing could be more true for this man, this role, this character, on that stage that launched him 40 years ago. Here’s wishing Sly the second best night in his storied career on February 28, 2016. I hope that hand gets filled.