On a night where Leonardo DiCaprio took a monkey off his back and Alejandro González Iñárritu solidified himself as a directing legend, there was a significant tension that Chris Rock semi-relieved. The “boycott” by some prominent members of the black community because the acting awards had zero African American nominees for the second year in a row.
The Oscars further proved their unpredictability by giving Spotlight Best Picture, and by giving Mark Who Cares (Actually it’s Rylance) the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Bridge of Spies over Sylvester Stallone in Creed.
We all know that Stallone as Rocky Balboa has been given to the American public over and over again. There are now seven movies featuring the tough guy with the rough simple Italian accent. The saga was Stallone’s platform for greatness and he’s stand in the society’s eye because of the popularity he built from that saga.
Now what do the boycotts have to do with Stallone? Well, it’s a tragic circumstance that Creed, which was a great movie, was more about Apollo Creed’s (Balboa’s rival in first movie) illegitimate son who needs Rocky as a mentor to become a fighter himself. Creed had great acting performances by African Americans like Phylicia Rashad, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson, but only Stallone, the white Italian, got a nomination for the golden boy on Oscar night.
This along with Will Smith’s performance in Concussion being ignored, led to the boycott. Now, my theory is this: Stallone was snubbed in order to mitigate how it looked.
You’d have to do a full investigation to prove it. Check the ballots of the final voting round and then check those with first round ballots that determined the nominees and then do a plethora of interviews to see if anyone changed their minds. But something tells me that that’s what happened.
The Oscars are the pinnacle of awards in society due to tradition and longevity. The Golden Globes, Satellite Awards, and Screen Actors Guild are like the silver and bronze to the Oscar’s gold. It’s an achievement to win them, it’s a celebration even, but they aren’t as hip as the Oscar. Winning the Oscar is the ultimate dream of anyone who is in the business beyond monetary reasons.
So imagine the articles written by journalists possibly if Stallone walked home with the gold in a movie that’s considered black and the black people in it weren’t recognized. A lot of people would think great job Stallone of course, especially after he’s had some terrible acting performances to contrast with his classic Rocky Balboa role (a favorite at the Golden Raspberry’s the man is.), but a lot of other people would cry racism. Racism that his role obviously was analyzed enough to deem worthy of a win, but Michael B. Jordan et al were not worthy.
Take note that I personally felt Will Smith deserved an Oscar nomination (although no one was beating DiCaprio by any means) and maybe there are more black acting roles that could be given more thought, but I think it’s more outrageous that whatever that theater actor’s name (oh it’s Mark Rylance) got the Oscar over Stallone in his redemption year.
Rydell was in Bridge of Spies another Spielberg gem for all of us, but Mark Rylance didn’t win a single major award beyond the British version of the Oscar (BAFTA). He won a couple of film festivals, but the Golden Globe went to Stallone and the Screen Actors Guild Award went to Idris Elba (another black actor who I also think probably deserved an Oscar nomination).
So on Oscar night, it was definitely an upset to see Stallone’s name not called and while Rylance is an acclaimed theater actor, he got more votes in this case not because he beat Stallone, but because Bridge of Spies winning that Oscar wouldn’t further fan the flames already in the black community if they had to see Rocky Balboa win for a movie called Creed.