Sylvester Stallone Joins an Oscars Elite Team: Actors Nominated Twice for the Same Role

The actor and writer who gave us Rocky Balboa (again and again and again) is the sixth member of this exclusive club

Producers Irwin Winkler, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Chartoff with their Academy Awards for Rocky, 1977 (Everett Collection)
smithsonian.com

With this morning’s nominations for the Academy Awards, Sylvester Stallone, nominated for his supporting role as Rocky Balboa in Creed, joins a select group of actors with an interesting footnote: being nominated twice for playing the same character.

In the mid-1970s, the story of Stallone’s attempts to make Rocky were befitting of the film’s underdog story. A down-on-his-luck actor, Stallone wrote the script in three-and-a-half days with just $106 in his wallet, according to the New York Times. He shopped it from studio to studio, getting some interest but with producers insisting on casting contemporary stars like Ryan O’Neal or Burt Reynolds. Stallone declined, seeking to play the titular role himself.

Producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff eventually signed on as financiers of a $1 million budget, and Stallone went on to star in the top-grossing film of 1976 and the movie garnered ten Oscar nominations, winning for Best Picture and Best Director. (The accolades placed him in a different Oscar club that year: At the time, Stallone, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles were the only three actors to be nominated for writing and acting in the same film. That group that would later add Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Billy Bob Thornton, Matt Damon and Roberto Benigni.)

The hit spawned a franchise that now includes six more films: Rocky II, III, IV, and V, Rocky Balboa and last year’s Creed. And while Stallone arguably never really played a role other than Rocky even as he took on John Rambo, Judge Dredd and Lt. Raymond Tango, it’s the movies that bookend the franchise, 39 years apart, that have gotten him the attention of the Academy.

Who is Stallone joining in this exclusive club? Read below to find out.

Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

The only female actor in this group, Blanchett played the English monarch in both films, the latter ostensibly a sequel to the first, though their critical reception could not have been more different. Of the first, Roger Ebert wrote, “What it gets right is the performance by Cate Blanchett,” and of the second, “it places [Blanchett] in the center of history that is baldly simplified, shamelessly altered, and pumped up with romance and action.” Blanchett did not win the Oscar for either performance, but Queen Elizabeth did take home a statue in 1999 in the form of Judi Dench, who won for Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love.

(h/t Kris Tapley)

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