Sylvester Stallone‘s surprising loss to Mark Rylance at the Oscars last night was the biggest shocker of the telecast. Expectation-wise it was like being hit on the side of the head with a waffle iron. Some had predicted Spotlight‘s surprise win, but almost nobody saw the Stallone thing coming.
Obviously some sentiment or conviction kicked in that very few picked up on. But what? You can’t just bellyache — something happened.
But before floating theories, you have to watch Michael Rapaport’s reaction, which was posted late last night or early this morning or whatever.
Sasha Stone has suggested that Sly lost because (1) it was a very competitive year resulting in a split-up vote, (2) “Did the Academy really want to go down in history rewarding ‘the only white guy’ in Creed?…that’s all the press talked about…if they gave him an award, doesn’t that just seal the deal?” and (3) “A lot of old timers really liked Bridge of Spies.”
HE theories: I agree with Sasha’s thinking but I also think Sly lost some votes when he forgot to thank Creed director Ryan Coogler during his thank-you speech at the Golden Globes — I think that pushed the wrong kind of button.
It’s a cliche to mention that a great many Los Angeles-based actors are seriously impressed with stage-trained British actors, and that Brits activate their inferiority complexes. But it’s also true.
I also suspect that some people felt that Sly had made too many crappy movies to be taken 100% seriously at this stage of the game. The Expendables franchise, Cliffhanger, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, the Rambo remakes, etc. All he made quality-wise over 40 years was Rocky, First Blood, Copland and Creed.
Here’s a theory from Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan: Stallone “wasn’t even nominated for a SAG award in December, and while a few actors have still gone on to win an Actor despite that snub, those performers usually come from end-of-the-year movies that screen and peak much later in Oscar season. While industry observers touted Stallone’s comeback narrative as irresistible, I kept talking to actual Hollywood insiders who weren’t that enamored of Stallone as a person over his few decades in show business, and consequently withheld their vote. A comeback narrative can only take you so far: If voters don’t actually want to see you on that stage, you won’t make it up those steps.”
If the entire Academy membership had been inside the Arlington theatre during Sly’s Santa Barbara Film Festival tribute, he would’ve won. Alas, they weren’t.
Summing up: Sasha, Kyle Buchanan and I have listed seven reasons why Stallone lost — competitive year, fear of voting for only white guy in Creed, old-timers loved Bridge of Spies, Sly forgot to thank Ryan Coogler, British actors are deeply admired by Los Angeles actors, Sly isn’t hugely liked by a portion of the membership and too many crappy Sly movies over the last 40 years. So why did everyone ignore these factors?