BEVERLY HILLS – Warner Bros., New Line and MGM celebrated the continuing success of Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” with a packed luncheon at The Cut at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel early Thursday afternoon. Coogler was on hand along with stars Michael B. Jordan (back in town just in time to make it), Tessa Thompson and, of course, Sylvester Stallone. Also joining in the festivities was co-screenwriter Aaron Covington, composer Ludwig Göransson, the original Creed himself, Carl Weathers (an Academy member as well), and regular Oscar event regulars such as Ed Asner and Sally Kirkland.
The talent at these events rarely get to eat, but it’s a great opportunity to schmooze and remind voters how much they loved either their movie or individual performance. As you’d expect, Stallone, Coogler and Jordan could barely make it a few steps without someone wanting to come up and congratulate them over the movie’s performance. “Creed” is one of the biggest crowd pleasers of the year earning $82 million domestic so far with an excellent shot at hitting the $100 million mark. The picture also earned impressive reviews including an 82 rating on Metacritic which included raves from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and TIME magazine.
On the awards side, “Creed” has become something of a late season surprise player. Stallone earned his first Golden Globe nomination in almost 40 years in the Best Supporting Actor category last week and has won critics group honors from the National Board of Review, the Boston Online Film Critics and the Las Vegas Film Critics so far.
Taking a moment to chat amid the madness, Stallone says he’s still in “shock” over the success of the picture. He thought the film would do well, but be “small” because of the box office of the last “Rocky” film. He humbly remarked how he’s much more used to Razzie nominations and that means he’s now trying to enjoy these particular kudos while they last. He also told his co-star Jordan to enjoy this sort of awards season run in the moment because you never know when it will happen next (it could be another four decades or never). Following an introduction from producer Irwin Winkler, Stallone spoke to the assembled patrons which you can catch a bit of in the embedded video below.
Coogler took a few minutes to chat as well and, first thing’s first, while he’s rumored to be in negotiations to direct “Black Panther” for Marvel he’s not sure what he’s doing next. Perhaps that’s because MGM is trying to convince him to fit “Creed 2” in-between? (That’s strictly conjecture on this writer’s part). In any event, Coolger is obviously in demand after “Creed’s” impressive run. What Coogler did reveal is that he’s only seen the movie play with a live audience once and that was in his hometown multiplex in Oakland, CA. He seemed genuinely delighted to hear that audiences were cheering the ending of the film in theaters you wouldn’t necessarily expect across the country.
As the deadline for Oscar nomination ballots slowly creeps closer these sorts of events can make the difference between a vote or two in a tight race. Best Supporting Actor is extremely competitive, but based on the love in the room today it’s hard not to see the iconic superstar making the cut. As for Best Picture, “Creed” has made a number of key critics association’s top 10 lists and outside of “Spotlight’s” ascension as the clear frontrunner the actual nominee field is quite fluid. As with so many contenders this season, the PGA nominations early next month may tell the tale. Meanwhile, WB’s late December push certainly can’t hurt.
“Creed” is still playing nationwide.
— Gregory Ellwood (@TheGregoryE) December 17, 2015