With a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor (and despite a miss with SAG-AFTRA), Sylvester Stallone could still be on track to pick up an Oscar nomination for “Creed.” It’s a very competitive category, so nothing is a sure bet, but if it does come to pass, he’ll join a very, very select group of actors who have been nominated twice for playing the same character.
The first instance was Bing Crosby’s portrait of Father Chuck O’Malley in the best picture-winning “Going My Way” in 1944 and a year later in “The Bells of St. Mary’s.” Both were lead actor nominations, and he won for the former.
Sixteen years later, Paul Newman landed a best actor nom for his portrayal of “Fast” Eddie Felson in “The Hustler.” But it would be 25 years before he’d play the part once again in Martin Scorsese’s 1986 sequel “The Color of Money,” for which he won. (That 25 years is currently the longest span of time between instances, a record that would be obliterated by the 39 years between “Rocky” and “Creed” should Stallone get the nom.)
Three years after “The Hustler,” in 1964, Peter O’Toole took on the role of King Henry II in “Becket.” He landed a best actor nomination for his efforts, and then again four years later when he revisited the character in “The Lion in Winter.”
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Al Pacino was nominated for best supporting actor in 1972 for his work as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” but shifted gears to a lead actor nomination two years later in “The Godfather Part II.” Stallone, if nominated, would join him as the only other individual on the list to be nominated in a different category the second time around.
The only woman on the list is Cate Blanchett, who picked up best actress nominations for both the critically acclaimed “Elizabeth” in 1998 and the critically reviled “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” nine years later in 2007. The character, if it isn’t obvious: Queen Elizabeth I.
And now — perhaps — Stallone. Does Rocky Balboa belong in the same company as this cinematic royalty? In a word, absolutely. Those raised boxing gloves are iconography of the highest order, already immortalized in bronze at the franchise’s famed Philadelphia Museum of Art location. Rocky is (clearly) one of the most enduring characters in movie history, the accomplishment for which Stallone will be remembered as an artist, and this is his most complex and nuanced depiction of the character to date.
Will the actor join this exclusive group in just over a month’s time? We’ll find out.