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Awards

Oscar Flashback! Inside Sylvester Stallone and Rocky's Knockout Night at the 1977 Oscars

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Julian Wasser/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Sylvester Stallone might be having a Rocky-esque career comeback with his Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination for his supporting turn in Creed, but it’s certainly not his first time in the awards-circuit ring – though it has been a while.

In fact, it’s been 39 years since Stallone, now 69, walked the Academy Awards red carpet as a nominee.

In 1977, the actor solidified his position as a Hollywood knockout with the cult-favorite original Rocky film, which earned Stallone twin nominations: Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

In one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, the film ended up winning Best Picture over such heavyweights as Taxi Driver, Network, All the President’s Men and Bound for Glory.

Sylvester Stallone
Ron Galella/WireImage

At the time, his double nominations made him the third person to score acting and writing nods in the same year, following the likes of Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles.

After Rocky became a box-office sensation and Stallone skyrocketed to the A-list, the actor was more than ready to make his Oscar debut – and he certainly dressed for the part. The actor walked the red carpet with his then-wife Sasha Czack on his arm, wearing a black tux with a white shirt featuring ruffles running down the center, leaving it unbuttoned just enough to expose the top of his chest.

Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack
Ron Galella/WireImage

Once inside the ceremony, Stallone played up his role as the heavyweight boxing champ, jokingly sparring with Muhammad Ali as they took the stage to present an award.

Sylvester Stallone and Muhammad Ali
ABC/Getty

And while Stallone lost the Best Actor prize to Peter Finch for his performance in Network – the film also won the Best Original Screenplay award for screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky – Stallone did end up sharing the Best Picture award alongside producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff.

Later, after Rocky won Best Picture, Chartoff acknowledged Stallone onstage, praising the actor’s doggedness, as well as his impressive performance in the film.

“Sylvester Stallone, I’d like to thank you for sharing your dream of Rocky with us and for giving a performance that has enriched all our lives,” said Chartoff.

Overcoming impossible odds is an intrinsic part of the Rocky legacy, so a Stallone victory at this year’s Oscars, after a 39-year awards-season hiatus, would only be fitting.

Watch our Live from the Oscars Red Carpet show on PEOPLE.com starting at 5:30 ET/2:30 PT on Feb. 28 and the 88th Academy Awards at 7 ET/4 PT on ABC.