Rocky Balboa has knocked out his Golden Globe competition.
Sylvester Stallone won Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at Sunday’s 73rd Golden Globe Awards for his portrayal of the famed boxer in Creed.
“I am the sum total of everyone I’ve ever met, and so lucky I’ve absorbed some of this,” Stallone said, taking the stage to a standing ovation.
He finished his speech by thanking Balboa himself. “Most of all, I want to thank my imaginary friend Rocky Balboa for being the best friend I’ve ever had,” he said. Stallone failed to thank Creed star Michael B. Jordan or director Ryan Coogler.
Backstage, Stallone said he does indeed talk to Balboa sometimes as an imaginary friend.
“There’s a time when you are alone at 3 o’clock in the morning, 4 o’clock in the morning, and I’ll actually go on the computer and turn on when you can film yourself and have ongoing conversations, and in that sometimes you actually come up with some very interesting viable ideas,” he said. “It’s just snatches, it’s just something…because we all have an inner dialogue. And quite often no one really…calculates that into any kind of scripture. But we really are constantly probing ideas, what is life? What is this, what is that? It just goes in one ear and out the other. So yes I have long conversations with Rocky Balboa and every now and then there’s a little piece of it that makes it onto the film.”
Imaginary friend or not, Stallone added that Balboa won’t be around forever. “He represents what life is all about,” he said. “Unfortunately we don’t stay here permanently. It’s a cycle.”
This was Stallone’s first Golden Globe win, and third nomination — the first two were for the original Rocky (Best Screenplay and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama) at the 1977 Globes.
In Creed, Balboa returned to the boxing world not as a competitor, but as a coach and mentor to Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the out-of-wedlock son of his rival-turned-friend, Apollo Creed.
In a November interview on Entertainment Weekly Radio, Jordan recalled how Stallone put him at ease as he joined the Rocky saga. “The first time I met him, I was almost expecting to meet Rocky, but it’s not Rocky, it’s Sly, and I was like, ‘Oh snap, this guy was acting the whole time! He’s a person! This is crazy!’ That’s a testament to his acting skills,” Jordan said. “But there wasn’t any pressure, because he kind of took the pressure off me. He was like, ‘You shouldn’t compare yourself to what I did 40 years ago, because this is your movie.’ Just hearing him say that took that weight off my shoulders from the beginning. If anybody else put pressure on me, I didn’t feel it. How can I let that affect me if Sly himself is telling me not to worry about it? If he’s cool with it, I’m cool with it.”
The other contenders in the Supporting Actor category were Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Michael Shannon (99 Homes).
—Additional reporting by Marc Snetiker.