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Sylvester Stallone: the wacky people’s champ who battled his own ego

Leading the race for best supporting actor Oscar for his comeback in Creed, this self-made stars creative fortunes have been inseparably bound to his most famous creation, Rocky Balboa

Sylvester Stallone and the Oscars go way back. It was at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1977 that Rocky, his Cinderella story about a plucky fighter who gets a shot at the big time, took home three prizes, including best picture. Stallone lost out on the best actor award, which went posthumously to Peter Finch for Network. But this year he is the favourite to win best supporting actor for reprising the role of Rocky Balboa in the sequel-cum-reboot Creed, in which the boxer-turned-restaurateur trains the son of his old rival.

Stallone wrote the original movie as well as each of the six sequels except for Creed, and directed numbers two, three, four and six, but he has hardly been what you would call a critical darling. The late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael once called him the stupidos Orson Welles. His performance in Creed, though, may be good enough to silence the mockery that has tended to follow him around. The Golden Globe he received last month for best supporting actor isnt a bad place to start. And if he wins the Oscar, too, that will do the trick for all time. It will also bring the Rocky story full circle in the most poignant way imaginable.

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