“I’ve never felt better to tell you the truth,” the Creed star and Best Supporting Actor nominee told PEOPLE preshow correspondent Alicia Quarles on the red carpet. “All the aches and pains go away … it’s a modern day miracle.”
Fans chanted “Rocky!” as the 69-year-old actor made his way down the carpet – the final event of a Rocky-esque career comeback that netted him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Creed.
That his appearance at the 2016 Academy Awards comes nearly 40 years since he last walked the red carpet as a nominee was not lost on Stallone: “When I came here before, like, 40 years ago – you don’t appreciate,” he recalled of his 1977 double nominations for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for the original Rocky film.
“But now you understand how hard it is to stick around and how many experiences you’ve had,” he reflected. “Now, I’m just making a mental movie of all this.”
The Hollywood knockout has not been taking this awards season for granted, sharing his gratitude in an Instagram post. “Jennifer and me off to the Oscar race great Moreno matter what happens!” he captioned a photo with his wife Jennifer Flavin as they headed off to the ceremony.
He followed up by calling the show the “best night ever!”
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In one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, Rocky ended up beating out heavyweights as Taxi Driver, Network, All the President’s Men and Bound for Glory to win Best Picture in 1977. However, Stallone went home empty-handed after losing Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. Is a comeback 39 years in the making in the cards for him tonight?
The 88th annual Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, are being presented live on ABC from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.