I really didn't think I'd be this upset when Sylvester Stallone got snubbed at the 88th Annual Academy Awards this past Sunday, but I am. The Oscars were such a mess of acting mediocrity; why not give him the Best Supporting Actor award? There were no stand-out performances this year like in years past. No Cate Blanchetts and Matthew McConaugheys taking home the biggest prizes of the night. Those two actors won for their performances, not their "body of work" à la Leonardo DiCaprio. The pickings were slim and who doesn't like Leo? There was no one else for whom I would have voted for either.
As for Best Actress, once again, did Brie Larson do a great job? Sure she did. But was it an Oscar-winning performance? I don't believe so. Was it up there with Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine or Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs? Was Leo's performance worthy of a Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote or even Jamie Foxx in Ray? Of course not. It's extremely hard to win for a lasting performance that transcends the politics of one Oscar season. Those sorts of performances only come along every 10 years or so. That's why we never remember who wins year to year and only are reminded when last year's winner presents the statue to this year's winner of the opposite sex. Leo's Oscar was presented by Julianne Moore. Show of hands, how many folks remembered she won Best Actress last year? A fine performance by Ms. Moore but not the kind you remember for the performance as opposed to the person. Last night, Leo's standing ovation seemed almost inevitable - and I'm not saying he didn't deserve it. He has done high caliber work over the past twenty years, but what gives you that "feel good" feeling in the pit of your stomach is when people stand because of an epic performance. Anthony Hopkins is a prime example. The year Sir Anthony won for Silence of the Lambs the crowd stood because it was the performance of a lifetime, regardless of the fact that he has had a lifetime of performances. The year Al Pacino won for Scent of a Woman, they stood for a lifetime of performances rather than that particular performance.
But back to Rocky Balboa's alter ego. Sylvester Stallone is an American icon. We all know he must be bright but certainly his character and persona come off like a big "goombah". Stallone wrote and starred in one of the greatest movies of all time. Of all time! Even the story of Rocky's production is a great American tale. But wait - Stallone not only created his Rocky character on paper and on screen but then this big oaf created another American icon in Rambo. That's right. The Italian Stallion, who had to call "The Fonz" for a lift when his car broke down in 1974 because he had no friends or money in Los Angeles, has written and starred as two of the most beloved characters in motion picture history. Sylvester Stallone does not hold a candle as an actor to any of the above mentioned Oscar winners, especially Leonardo DiCaprio. But, if you're giving away lifetime achievement awards this past Sunday, then the voters really dropped the ball by disrespecting an American legend.