Oscars 2016: Sylvester Stallone is thrilled to be back in Oscar ring after 39 years

It's been 39 years since Sylvester Stallone earned Oscar nominations for lead actor and original screenplay for the 1976 best-picture winner "Rocky." Now he's returning to the Oscar ring as a supporting actor nominee, reprising his role as Rocky Balboa for the seventh time in "Creed."

The only other performer who had a 39-year span between Oscar nominations was Helen Hayes, who won the lead actress Academy Award for 1931's "The Sin of Madelon Claudet" and supporting for 1970's "Airport."

Stallone joins Bing Crosby, Paul Newman, Peter O'Toole, Al Pacino and Cate Blanchett among actors who have earned nominations for playing the same role in different films.

Oscars 2016: Full Coverage | Complete list | Snubs, surprises and reactions | Top nominee photos

Despite Stallone's plane having landed at 3:30 a.m. from Europe and his having not yet been to sleep, the 69-year-old actor was gracious and thrilled with his Oscar nomination.

"You think about these things happening and they usually don't, and now it is happening, so I'm really enjoying it," he said.

When Stallone won the Golden Globe in the same category on Sunday, he thanked his imaginary and best friend Rocky.

What does Rocky think of the Oscar nomination?

"He's thrilled, though he doesn't know what to wear. He hasn't bought a tux in 40 years!"

Stallone noted that he possessed a lot of naivete when he was nominated in 1977.

"It was such a long shot, us even getting made, and I was so, so naive, so new to the business, so green that I didn't realize how hard it is and how much incredible talent there is out there," Stallone said.

"The competition is so extraordinary. And now here I am 40 years later. How many peaks and valleys and how difficult it is to maintain any sense of longevity, and then to be brought back into drama from basically spending so much time in another genre, that to me is extraordinary to have bridged that gap back to where I started in drama. It is really amazing to me."


Complete list of nominees

Academy high-fives 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

'The Revenant' and 'Mad Max: Fury Road' lead the pack in Oscar nominations

From Ridley to Harvey, screenplay to 'Star Wars,' Oscar nomination snubs and surprises

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times