It is 39 years since the original Rocky film took home a number of Academy Awards. Is it now finally be time to honour the man who started it all?
The 2016 Oscar nominations have included Sylvester Stallone, the star and creator of the Rocky films is nominated for his role in Creed. In 1977 the best picture Oscar was won by a rousing and romantic boxing drama, Rocky. In fact Rocky won two more awards for directing and editing but there was no recognition for Stallone. 39 years later Stallone is now nominated for best supporting actor, but he faces stiff competition. The other nominations in the category are:
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
This is an impressive and competitive list including the persistently great Tom Hardy, but surely it is time for Stallone to win.
Creed is directed by Ryan Coogler, starring Michael B Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed, now looking to be trained by Rocky. Creed is the latest in a trend of films that are cashing in on the nostalgic factor of known brands, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Star Wars and now Creed.
Creed is the Rocky film you didn’t know you wanted. Creed finds the tone of the original Rocky with a similar narrative structure. It focuses on a man attempting to find his own path whilst living in the shadow of his father instead of an unknown given a miraculous shot at stardom. The film is somewhat predictable with a weak final opponent, but it takes nothing away from the enjoyment of the film’s primary relationship between Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa.
Away from his failed Expendables experiment Stallone slips into a character of his own creation to steal this film by flexing his impressive acting muscles. These acting muscles have been sorely missed in recent ventures, but are they are there to be seen in past projects like Cop Land. Creed arrives in cinemas in the UK tomorrow, January 15, 2016 and I recommend you see it especially for Sly Stallone’s performance.
There is a scene after Rocky collapses and he gets some bad news that reminds him of his deceased wife, Adrian that should earn him the Oscar alone. The former heavyweight champ’s face says a thousand words. It is a world-weary, battle scarred face that conveys the emotion of the scene beautifully. Yes the drama is forced and predicate at times but the performance carries you through. Throughout the film his body language and movement is impeccable as his stooped physicality reveals the characters unseen turmoil. He might be the supporting actor but Stallone is still the heart of the film, Balboa remains an extraordinarily likeable character complete with his off-beat jokes and kindness.
The Oscars often do not award the person for their best work, but recognise it is now their time; The Unofficial Lifetime Achievement Award. The best example is The Departed winning Martin Scorsese long overdue recognition with a Best Director and Best Picture win in 2006. Leonardo DiCaprio is likely to win this year for The Revenant, not necessarily his best performance but he is also long overdue academy recognition.
Stallone’s performances are not comparable with DiCaprio’s body of work but everyone loves an underdog and Stallone has created a series of films based on that premise. And yes the other actors nominated for the award may produce consistently better work and even be nominated for better films, but I will once again be cheering on Rocky Balboa.