When Sylvester Stallone received awards season acclaim for writing and portraying the character of Rocky Balboa 39 years ago, he wound up inspiring a future nominee, Matt Damon revealed at the National Board of Review Awards on Tuesday.
After being presented the Best Actor award by Robert De Niro at the New York event, Damon praised his fellow 2016 Golden Globe nominee, saying that it was Stallone acting in his own Rocky script that inspired him and Ben Affleck to insist they star in their breakthrough script for Good Will Hunting.
Damon and Affleck famously went on to win the Oscar for their screenplay in 1998. While Stallone was nominated for his screenplay and performance at the 1977 Academy Awards, he went home empty-handed.
In addition to his Academy Award nomination, Stallone was also nominated at the 1977 Golden Globe Awards for his performance and script. Now, 39 years later, Stallone is returning to the award show as a nominee for the first time.
"When it happened in '77, I wasn't in the moment," Stallone told ET. "I didn't really understand how hard it is or how difficult. Now, I'm just savoring it all."