Former Hornet receiver scoring big in Hollywood

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Ryan Coogler was one of the Hornets’ top wide receivers; now, he is one of the film industry’s brightest rising stars. (Sacramento State/Randy Allen)

In just a few years, writer and director Ryan Coogler has gone from making catches on the football field to making Oscar-nominated films in Hollywood.

Coogler (’07, Business Administration) was one of Sacramento State’s most dynamic wide receivers and a three-time winner of the Big Sky Conference’s All-Academic award, but this year he’s bringing in a whole other kind of hardware: His latest film, the highly touted Rocky sequel, Creed, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – the first Oscar nod for one of the young director’s movies.

It has been a whirlwind ride for Coogler, 29, who first got behind a camera while a business major at Sac State; still, despite his relative youth, he clearly has no problems directing A-list talent:

Creed’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is a category came for a performance by megastar Sylvester Stallone, who won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of a world-weary Rocky Balboa. The film also netted Coogler the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association “Next Generation” Award.

The awards are the culmination of this past year’s buzz surrounding Coogler’s latest film, which was both a critical and commercial darling. His major motion picture debut Fruitvale Station grossed $16 million worldwide; Creed netted more than two and a half times that its first week in theaters.

Coogler still is just getting started as a Hollywood filmmaker, though you would be hard-pressed to tell given his body of work to date. With demand for his talents surging and even bigger directing projects on the horizon – including Marvel’s Black Panther for 2018 – it is hard to imagine that Creed will be his last Oscar-nominated film.

Click here to check out Ryan’s Made at Sac State story.

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Author: John Blomster

John Blomster is a copywriter for the Office of Public Affairs & Advocacy at California State University, Sacramento. He is one of the main writers for the Made at Sac State campaign, a lifelong Sacramentan, and is passionate about all things Sacramento. John is also an avid musician who has been active in the local music scene for over a decade.

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