Talia Shire received her second Oscar nomination for playing Adrian, the girlfriend of Rocky, the boxer in the Best Picture winner Rocky. Many say that had she been campaigned in supporting, she would have won the Oscar. Well, I am not so sure. In the leading category she was probably fourth because of the popularity of Rocky and I think in supporting she would have been like second or third. She would have had a better chance there as she would not have had to compete against juggernauts like Faye Dunaway or Liv Ullmann. I mean there was no way she was winning.
In my opinion, Rocky is not as bad as many people say. I feel most of its bad reputation comes from the fact that it won the Oscar over classics like Taxi Driver, All the President's Men and Network (which is indeed ridiculous). It's kind of hard to believe that once Sylvester Stallone was a serious contender for a Best Actor Oscar (truth to be told, he's a much better actor than most of the other action movie stars). The Best Supporting Actor field of 1976 was arguably the worst one ever. I mean what the hell was going on? I'm not saying that Burt Young and Burgess Meredith were bad but a nomination? NO! Although he hardly impressed me, Laurence Olivier remains my pick.
Talia Shire is an actress that I cannot say many good things about as I don't have much knowledge about her movies but I'm quite sure that he had a lot to thank to his brother, Francis Ford Coppola. From what I saw from her, she never really impress me though I never thought that she was bad at all. As a result of this, I was kind of excited to rewatch Rocky to find out if I agree with the haters of this performance. Although I didn't hate her as Adrian, I don't think that this was a really outstanding work.
Most people argue that Shire is really supporting in this movie and I'd have to agree. Some compare her case to Valerie Perrine's in Lenny but personally I don't think that there are many resemblances between them. First of all, Valerie Perrine was excellent in Lenny and she really stood out despite the somewhat limited time. However, Talia Shire doesn't leave that kind of impression on the viewer. Mostly, she's just there, being silent or smiling at Rocky. This role isn't much of a strech, in my opinion.
However, what can you expect from a role written by Slyvester Stallone. He's not a natural born writer to say the least. Adrian's character has not much depth whatsoever in the script. You can leave her character out of the story and you get the totally same movie. Did Talia Shire had any chance of being outstanding in this part? In all fairness, she did. Had she pushed a little harder and tried to make Adrian a little bit more interesting. In fact, I might even have to say that she had much more to work with than I initially thought. She didn't do much with the fact that Adrian was a shy single girl, always taking care of her brother. Apart from one loud scene, this part of Adrian (which is the most interesting to me) is not present even though Shire could have underlined it. And I'm not saying that the scene is bad (though it's much more over-the-top than it should have been, such a loud outburst doesn't seem to fit Adrian's character).
Moreover, she's not that effective as the supportive girlfriend, either. Again, she's too much in the background and she doesn't get (or doesn't even ask for) more space and opportunities. There's some chemistry between Shire and Stallone but none of their scenes are truly great and they become lovely mostly because of the clumsy behavior of Rocky. Stallone (surprisingly) adds much more to their scenes than Shire. He makes their scenes quite human and a bit lame just like it had to be, whil Shire is really just standing there and doesn't do much to pay attention to her. In fact, that applies to her whole performance. Had she not been nominated for an Oscar, this performance would have been totally overlooked and forgotten (at least by me).
Still, I didn't exactly hate Talia Shire in Rocky, I was just never impressed by her work. She doesn't do much except for standing and being silent and she doesn't even do that in an expressive way. Apart from the nice, moving ending, there's nothing in her performance that's really memorable.
What do you think?