Mark Rylance shocked the Oscars on Sunday night, winning best supporting actor over presumed favorite Sylvester Stallone.
Rylance, a beloved stage actor, took home the honor for his performance as the stoic Soviet sleeper agent Rudolf Abel in the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies.
The Oscar represents the first win and nomination for the British actor, who has spent most of his career on the stage (and has three Tonys to his name).
“I’ve always just adored stories, hearing them, seeing them, being in them, so for me to have the chance to work with, I think, one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Steven Spielberg, it’s just been such an honor,” Rylance said when accepting his Oscar. “And unlike some of the leaders we’re being presented with these days, he leads with such love that he’s surrounded by masters in every craft on his film, every craft, not the least, Mr. Tom Hanks. People, I’m so pleased that our film has been nominated so many times, and as a face of the film, I meet many people in the streets and it’s lovely to have them, they’re always saying to me, “would it help?” and all that stuff. And I think, if you ever wondered about acting with Tom Hanks, would it help. The answer’s clearly yes.”
Rylance added, “I want to just say thank you to my fellow nominees. I don’t know how they separate my acting from your glorious acting in these wonderful films that you’re in, which everyone must see. I don’t know how they separated the five of us from all the other supporting actors who are making films at the moment. It’s a wonderful time to be an actor and I’m proud to be part of it.”
In a recent interview with EW, Rylance spoke of acting as a way to express his true self. “I think I reveal more of myself when I pretend to be someone else,” he said. He also noted some common ground with his Bridge of Spies character: “There is something alike in the objective of our two businesses. The twofold consciousness that actors and spies work with: pretending to be one thing while being fully aware you’re another.”
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Stallone tore through awards season as the presumed favorite, winning supporting actor at the Golden Globes. It would have been the first Oscar for the actor, who was nominated at the 1977 ceremony for his first time playing the character of Rocky Balboa.
After his loss, Stallone received support on Twitter from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. “No matter what they say. To me, you are the best. You were the winner. I’m proud of you,” Schwarzengger, who starred with Stallone in the Expendables movies, said.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 29, 2016
Tom Hardy in The Revenant, Christian Bale in The Big Short, and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight were the other nominees in the category.