Oscar prediction: Why Mark Rylance (‘Bridge of Spies’) will win over Sylvester Stallone (‘Creed’)

I better get this out now before I regret not sticking my neck out earlier. Sylvester Stallone will not be winning an Oscar on Sunday night for his performance in “Creed.” Well, that’s what I’m predicting anyways.  While I do have him at second place in my predictions for Best Supporting Actor behind Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”), I think he is far from the lock that the experts, editors and users are making him out to be.

As it stands, all seven GoldDerby editors predict a Stallone victory, with an overwhelming 23/27 experts who believe he will take home the gold. These top-tier prognosticators are backed by 75% of GoldDerby users. I call on my fellow Derbyites to reconsider your predictions and see why history is against a Stallone victory:

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Stallone’s wins are not the most accurate precursors
So far, Stallone’s major victories that are seemingly surefire indicators of an Oscar victory, are wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards.

While the Golden Globes are the Oscars’ most-watched precursors, thus receiving the most exposure, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up a grand total of 93 journalists and photographers, only one of whom can vote at the Academy Awards. By comparison, the academy is made up of nearly 6,000 voters, made up of those involved in the filmmaking process, such as actors, producers, directors, screenwriters, etc., rather than journalists or film critics.

There may have been countless Golden Globe winners that have gone on to win Oscars, but in situations where there is a split between SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globe outcomes, the Globe winner is not often the eventual Oscar champ.  In the rare situations where the Golden Globe winner takes home the Oscar (Chris Cooper for “Adaptation,” Jim Broadbent for “Iris”), they had corresponding BAFTA and SAG nominations to back them up.

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Stallone misses out where it matters
The SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards and and the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television) Awards have a more similar voting demographic to the Oscars, being made up of industry members. Unlike the Golden Globes, there is an actual overlap in membership for the Oscars with SAG and BAFTA.

If Stallone wins an Oscar on Sunday, he will hold the distinction of becoming the first male actor to win an Academy Award after being left off the ballots at both SAG and BAFTA. To date, actress Marcia Gay Harden is the only person to overcome these snubs, with a surprise Supporting Actress win for her role in ‘Pollock’ (2000).

In 2012, Christoph Waltz (‘Django Unchained’) became only the second performer to win an Oscar without a SAG nomination. However, unlike Stallone, Waltz’s Oscar was backed by wins at both the Golden Globes and BAFTA. It is also worth noting that ‘Django Unchained’ was released on December 25, 2012, nearly two weeks after the SAG nominations were announced. Stallone’s ‘Creed’ however was released on November 25, 2015, two weeks before SAG nominations were announced.

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Idris Elba may have won, but the SAG Awards are still a major factor
Even though the Screen Actors Guild Award winner for Best Supporting Actor Idris Elba (‘Beasts of No Nation’) was left off the Oscar ballot this year, it doesn’t mean the SAG Awards are out of play when it comes to the outcome at this year’s Academy Awards.  Only two of this year’s Supporting Actor contenders appear on both the SAG and Oscar ballots: Christian Bale (‘The Big Short’) and Rylance. Since Bale is still a recent winner (2010 Supporting Actor, ‘The Fighter’) and Rylance has the BAFTA win under his belt, it makes the most sense to redirect the focus on the ‘Bridge of Spies’ actor.

In a similar way, when Ben Affleck recently won the DGA for ‘Argo’ despite being snubbed for Best Director at the Oscars, that left only two names to appear on both ballots (Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln” and Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”). It was correct to assume that one of these two men would become the eventual Oscar winner, even if most people were putting their bets on Spielberg instead of Lee.

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Stallone’s resume is not very impressive
Oscars have shown to past Golden Globe winners Eddie Murphy, Michael Keaton and Mickey Rourke that just because you’ve been in the film industry for decades and do not happen to have an Oscar on your mantle, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to give you one.

By the time Murphy had been generating Oscar buzz for his role in “Dreamgirls,” his box office draw was already on the downfall due to a long string of movies with dismal reviews, receiving more recognition at the Razzies than any praiseworthy accolades. Despite Murphy’s Golden Globe and SAG victories, it was well-respected veteran actor and 3-time nominee Alan Arkin who took home the Oscar for “Little Miss Sunshine” in an upset over Murphy, although it is worth noting that Arkin also nabbed the BAFTA for the same role.

Both Rourke (a former Razzie nominee) and Keaton were fallen stars that were having a comeback for Oscar-y films (“The Wrestler” and “Birdman,” respectfully) that saw them at the peak of their careers, after more than a decade of film after film of commercial and critical disappointments. Despite Globe and BAFTA wins for Rourke, Oscar voters felt more inclined to give SAG winner and 5-time Oscar nominee Sean Penn (“Milk”) his second career Oscar win that night.  While it started off promising for Keaton last year winning a Critics Choice Award and Golden Globe, it was up-and-coming actor Eddie Redmayne who won the hearts of SAG, Globe, BAFTA and Oscar voters alike. As a side note, Redmayne’s two most recent films up to that point were Oscar-friendly pics “My Week with Marilyn” and “Les Miserables,” while Keaton’s two most recent films preceding “Birdman” were the “RoboCop” remake and the video game-inspired “Need for Speed.”

While he has maintained a more consistent box office appeal, Stallone unfortunately has one of the most critically disappointing post-Oscar nomination resumes. Of his record 32 Razzie nominations, Stallone has “won” a whopping 10, including Worst Actor of the Decade (1990), and Worst Actor of the Century (2000). For the latter award, the Razzies made a note of pointing out that it was in recognition of “99.5% of everything he has EVER done.” Since that 0.5% most likely refers to the beloved “Rocky” film from 1976, is it likely that Oscar voters will feel the urgency to award the sole award-worthy role from his mostly-disappointing career?

As much as I personally would love to see a Stallone victory, I am beginning to wonder how many pundits and users have a similar sentimental hopeful attitude and are choosing to ignore the idea that Rocky may go home defeated on Sunday night.

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Photo Credit: The Moviestore Collection Ltd/REX Shutterstock

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