For the seventh time, Sylvester Stallone plays the Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa in “Creed.” And this year, he just might win an Oscar for it.
The movie stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, son of Rocky’s most famous opponent, Apollo Creed. It marks the first time in the “Rocky” franchise that Rocky himself doesn’t fight. This time, he’s the trainer, dispensing the same kind of advice that Burgess Meredith’s Mickey Goldmill used to give him (“Women weaken legs”).
Whether due to nostalgia or the strength of the performance, Stallone’s graying version of Rocky struck a chord with moviegoers and awards-givers. Stallone won the Golden Globe for the role and is now a front-runner for the supporting Oscar category ahead of heavyweight competitors like Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo.
(“Creed” has been one of the films fueling the controversy over the Oscars’ lack of diversity. Jordan was not nominated for his lead role.)
A win for Stallone, a 40-year veteran of the film industry, could result in an emotional moment on the Oscar stage. The last time Stallone was nominated at all was for leading actor and original screenplay for the very first “Rocky” in 1977.