He’s a Golden Gloves winner, but he has no interest in gold statuettes.
Southwest Philly boxer Marquise Noel won’t be watching to see if castmate Sylvester Stallone takes home an Oscar this weekend. Nineteen-year-old Noel, who starred as the leader of the dirt bike crew in Creed, is one of many planning to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards because of the lack of racial diversity in this year’s nominees.
“They hating on my man MBJ,” he said, showing solidarity with Creed protagonist Michael B. Jordan. Jordan’s lack of Best Actor nomination was widely seen as a snub, and director Ryan Coogler, another African American, was also passed over. The only nomination received by the movie — which revolved around black characters and showcased urban black culture — was for Stallone, a white guy.
“I do understand why Sly was nominated,” Noel continued, tossing in a backhanded compliment for the veteran action hero. “He’s been acting for years and the acting he did in Creed was opposite most of his other movies — he turned on true acting skills.”
Stallone has already been handed a Golden Globe for his seventh turn playing fictional Philadelphia boxing great Rocky. His Globes acceptance speech in January caused a brief stir when he forgot to thank Jordan, Coogler and female lead Tessa Thompson in front of the cameras, rushing back on stage during a commercial break to correct his mistake. Hollywood names like Samuel L. Jackson and director Ava DuVernay were quick to call him out.
After an #OscarsSoWhite boycott was launched by Jada Pinkett Smith on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, word spread fast and Stallone considered joining in, he told attendees at the annual Oscars nominee luncheon in early February. But a conversation with Coogler convinced him otherwise.
“I said, ‘If you don’t want me to go, I won’t.’ He said, ‘I want you to go.’ That’s the kind of guy he is. He wanted me to stand up for the film,” the Los Angeles Times reported him as saying. Though Stallone has been nominated three times during his career, including once for his performance in the original Rocky, he’s never nabbed an actual Oscar.
Noel heard about Stallone’s acceptance speech flub and the ensuing Twitter discussion from his mother, Dywanna Broadnax. “When Marquise heard about it he said, ‘Wow, mom, that’s crazy, I thought MBJ and Sly were friends,’” she said.
Jordan and Coogler were both honored with NAACP Image Awards at the annual ceremony held in Los Angeles on Feb. 5. Jordan won Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Actor for his portrayal of Adonis Creed, Apollo Creed’s son. Coogler won for Outstanding Directing and shared an award for Outstanding Writing.
Image Awards host and comedian Anthony Anderson made reference to the situation during the parody rap that opened the show, titled “Nominees with Attitude.”
“Listen, y’all, I don’t mean to sound cocky, but the movie’s called Creed, not Rocky,” Anderson rapped.
Stallone was on hand as a presenter at the Image Awards, and received a warm welcome from the audience, but then misspelled “NAACP” and “Jordan” in his congrats post on Instagram. He quickly fixed the error and issued another apology, writing in a comment: “Confidentially, besides everything else, I am slightly dyslexic.”
Though Noel doesn’t plan to watch the ceremony, he’s still pulling for a Stallone knockout. “Of course I want Sly to win,” he said. “It will be good for a sequel. [But] MBJ and Ryan deserved nominations. If it wasn’t for them, Creed wouldn’t have been made, so Sly would never have been nominated in the first place.”