Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

FILM: “Creed II”
PRODUCERS: Sylvester Stallone, Irwin Winkler, Kevin King Templeton, William Chartoff, Charles Winkler, David Winkler
DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros., MGM
DIRECTOR: Steven Caple, Jr.
WRITERS: Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker
CAST: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, and Wood Harris
SYNOPSIS: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa (Jordan), newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Jordan) faces off against Vitor Drago (Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago (Lundgren).

WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED:
While 2015’s “Creed” had its ardent fans and supporters, its only Oscar nomination was for Sylvester Stallone reprising one of cinema’s most iconic roles.  Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler used his mandate from the critical success of “Creed” to land “Black Panther,” which is now the third highest grossing film of all time.  Tessa Thompson used the recognition garnered from her role to pop up in everything from HBO’s “Westworld” to “Thor: Ragnarok.”  Michael B. Jordan has used the success of “Creed” to land a career-defining role as Killmonger in Coogler’s “Black Panther” and is sure to burn brightly in HBO’s upcoming “Fahrenheit 451.”

That being said, what are awards prospects for “Creed II,” really?  While Stallone could certainly continue to win laurels as Rocky, perhaps the gaze should be fixed instead on Jordan and Thompson.  Jordan could parlay his strong reviews as Killmonger into some traction for as Creed, or vice versa, depending on how the Supporting Actor and Lead Actor races shake out, respectively.  Likewise, depending on the meatiness of the role, Thompson could use her profile from Valkyrie, “Annihilation,” and “Sorry to Bother You” to make her role as Bianca as appealing to the Academy as Talia Shire‘s Adrian was.

Depending on how much of a box office hit it is and how the year shakes out, it may well benefit from an expanded Best Picture lineup in a growing Academy who is constantly seeking out diverse storytelling.

Boxing films tend to do well in craft races (though, criminally, “Creed” did not).  Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Cinematography could be on the table.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED:
It’s a sequel.

Beyond the acting, the picture is foggier.  Original director Stallone was relieved of his duties by director Steven Caple Jr.  He may have impressed with “The Land,” but getting into a field of five for a sequel to a film the Academy didn’t exactly eat up is a dubious proposition at best; had Coogler returned, the conversation might be different.

The screenplay, by Stallone and “Luke Cage” creator Cheo Hodari Coker has potential, depending on the year (certainly would have had a good chance at landing in last year’s Adapted Screenplay race).

However, much of the creative force behind the original “Creed” is gone.  The brilliant Maryse Alberti is no longer serving as DP for Creed’s fight scenes.  Claudia Castello and Michael P. Shawver no longer seem to be serving as editors on the film.  Ludwig Göransson, who created such an environmental, new-age score for the new world of Creed, while giving liege to the original films, no longer will be serving as the composer.  In fact, Stallone has taken time to craft the screenplay (a duty that was done by Coogler and his writing partner, Aaron Covington on the original).  While Stallone might be an Oscar nominee for screenwriting (rightfully so), his work since 1976 has proven poor at best; here’s hoping Coker can save Stallone from himself.

POTENTIAL OSCAR CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Best Picture – Sylvester Stallone, Irwin Winkler, Kevin King Templeton, William Chartoff, Charles Winkler, David Winkler
  • Actor in a Leading Role – Michael B. Jordan
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Tessa Thompson
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Sylvester Stallone
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay) –Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker
  • Cinematography – Kramer Morgenthau
  • Film Editing
  • Makeup and Hairstyling

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!

CHECK OUT THE FIRST OFFICIAL SET OF
YEAR-IN-ADVANCE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
AND SEE WHERE “CREED II” RANKS!