Avid boxing fan and Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone received a standing ovation after claiming the first major award of his lengthy career on Sunday.
The 69 year-old, who shot to fame in 1976 by writing, starring and directing the hit movie ‘Rocky’, was nominated for the first time since his defining role that he once again portrayed in the 2015 spin-off ‘Creed’.
Stallone plays Balboa at the tail end of his life and facing up to his biggest challenge, whilst also taking on mentor duties of former rival and friend Apollo Creed’s son Adonis Johnson.
The film, directed by Ryan Coogler and headlined by Michael B. Jordan as Johnson, has won acclaim since release in the US last November culminating in Stallone picking up his first award nod in almost 40 years.
Stallone received the biggest cheer of the night when his name was called out as the winner to beat off the challenge of Michael Shannon, Idris Elba, Mark Rylance and Paul Dano to collect the coveted gong.
In a career spanning five decades, Stallone had previously been overlooked during awards season, only receiving praise previously for his work in ‘Copland’ – a 1997 movie in which he played overweight police officer Freddy Heflin. ‘Sly’ was ridiculed at times in the mainstream media for his acting work and was even told by producers of his own creation that he wasn’t right for the part of Rocky Balboa when pitching the idea.
The then unknown actor stood his ground and fought his corner to eventually make the role his own, and this latest victory represents the acknowledgement of a life’s work that is fully deserved for Stallone.
“I am the sum total of everyone I’ve ever met, and so lucky I’ve absorbed some of this,” Stallone said when taking to the stage.
He then finished by saying: “Most of all, I want to thank my imaginary friend Rocky Balboa for being the best friend I’ve ever had.”
There has been some criticism since the show as Stallone failed to thank Coogler and Jordan for their part in his triumph, although the Best Supporting Actor winner did mention both backstage to the media afterwards.