Could we see “Creed” make a dent in the Oscar race?

Creed Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan
I love a good cinematic surprise, and boy oh boy did I get one last week when I saw Creed. This sixth sequel in the Rocky franchise is also a spinoff, focusing on the son of Apollo Creed as opposed to just Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. It’s also one of the best movies of the year so far, masterfully done by filmmaker Ryan Coogler. I expected very little, but this film blew me away. It’s now something that I consider a dark horse awards player, in particular for Stallone. Hard to believe, I know, but believe. The flick is out today and is a must see, so hopefully I can convince you now…

The film centers on Adonis Johnson (Jordan), who finds out he’s the son of Apollo Creed and sets off to follow in his father’s footsteps. He tracks down retired and broken down Rocky Balboa (Stallone) in the hopes of being trained by him, leading to a bond neither of them expected. There’s plenty of boxing, including a sequence brilliantly shot in one take, but this is a story about family, legacy, and your place in the world, more so than just a sports drama. It’s just amazing. Coogler directs and co-writes with Aaron Covington, while in addition to Jordan and Stallone, the cast includes Tony Bellew, Wood Harris, Graham McTavish, Phylicia Rashad, Tessa Thompson, and more. Maryse Alberti is the cinematographer here (more on her in a bit) and the score is by Ludwig Göransson. It’s all top notch in Creed, from start to finish.

In Ring Creed Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan

I adored this movie, with special recognition going to Stallone’s supporting turn and the visuals from Alberti, who deserves a citation in Best Cinematography (it’s some of the best camera work of the year to me, and I’ve seen The Revenant, though I’m embargoed from saying anything about that one right now). Stallone has never been better, playing his iconic character as an old man, lacking much to live for anymore. Somehow, it’s heartbreaking stuff. Jordan is excellent as well, while Coogler one ups himself after a promising debut with Fruitvale Station (also starring Jordan). As I mentioned earlier this week, this is the best Rocky film since the original, and I mean that. This is one special flick.

Awards wise, what used to be a laughable concept is now something I’m sure Warner Brothers is considering for Creed. Expect sudden campaigns to be launched all around, with Best Picture, Best Director (for Coogler), Best Actor (for Jordan), Best Supporting Actor (for Stallone), Best Supporting Actress (for Rashad and Thompson), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Coogler and Covington), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. It may be Supporting Actor or bust here, but I can see Picture being in play if this becomes a huge hit, which in turn would give it a shot in Cinematography, which is where it really belongs. Alberti is overdue for an Oscar, so here’s hoping she can at least be in contention. As for Stallone, if he does get into the Supporting Actor race, watch out…he could surprise everyone and win the thing.

Overall, Creed is a brilliant film that’s among the very best titles of 2015. It’s out today and well worth your time during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I can vouch for it as a near masterpiece, so much so that Oscar may have to consider it. Time will tell in that regard, but this is something special folks. From the powerful acting to the amazing cinematography, it’s unlike anything you’d expect from the seventh installment of a franchise that began about four decades ago. Trust me though, you’ll love it. I can all but guarantee it. Don’t you dare miss out on seeing this one ASAP…

Be sure to check out Creed, in theaters everywhere today!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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