Oh, the poor guy! By now, Leonardo DiCaprio is beyond a household name; he’s an acting icon. Surely, young actors and even future icons will look up to and take inspiration from the 41 year old star. Landing his first starring movie role in 1993’s The Boy’s Life, DiCaprio has grown up and matured on the big screen for all of us to see. So, the question firmly stands: why hasn’t he won an Academy Award?! With five nominations for films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Aviator (2004), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), to name a few, and three Golden Globe wins, what’s keeping The Academy from crowning him “Best Performance?” Isn’t it his time? Well, it might not be that it isn’t his time, it’s just that his competition has always been greater. To give DiCaprio an Oscar simply out of pity or respect would be unfair, although it’s highly likely to happen at the 2016 Academy Awards, airing February 28th.
I’m not saying DiCaprio isn’t a great actor. Honestly, I’m stating the opposite. He’s extremely talented and committed to every role I’ve ever seen him in, which is many. He’s just had an insanely competitive category every year he’s been nominated. For example, at the 2005 Academy Awards, he was up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for The Aviator. He was against the big timers: Clint Eastwood, Johnny Depp, Don Cheadle, and ultimately the winner, Jamie Foxx. The next time nominated, in 2007 for Blood Diamond, the competition wasn’t as tough, except for favorite Forest Whitaker, nominated for his acclaimed role in The Last King of Scotland. DiCaprio didn’t really stand a chance. His roles have always been up to par, but he’s constantly being out shined by his fellow contenders who truly take their roles to the next level. The one film DiCaprio one hundred percent took things to the next level with was 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. DiCaprio was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, but being only 19 years old, I’m sure The Academy predicted he would have plenty of other chances to win. Oh, the irony…
This year, DiCaprio received his fifth Academy Award nomination for The Revenant. He certainly was committed to this project; reportedly sleeping in animal carcasses and eating raw bison liver to prepare. Um, okay? Right off the bat, it sounds like DiCaprio deserves to win this thing, right? Wrong! He most certainly did not deliver the best performance by an actor in a leading role this year, and I’m so sorry about it. The Revenant is an incredibly beautiful film about survival, family, and revenge. It’s my favorite movie of the year, and I’m totally gunning for it to win Best Picture at the ceremony. However, the real star of the film was Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role nominee, antagonist Tom Hardy. Hardy is quite phenomenal in this film, lessening DiCaprio’s performance. I was so looking forward to DiCaprio killing this role, but without much dialogue, I’m sure any good actor could do the part adequately.
The actor who truly should win this year is Eddie Redmayne for his role in The Danish Girl. He is so brave and so committed to his work; it’s unbelievable what characters he can convince you of. This role is so diverse, beautiful and tragic, and he delivers perfectly. Yet, since he already snatched up the award at last year’s ceremony for The Theory of Everything, a win for him this year is nearly impossible. His costar, Alicia Vikander, is now the frontrunner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, so I guess that’s close enough? Not really, but I’ll get over it.
After winning this year’s Golden Globe and SAG Award for The Revenant, DiCaprio is a shoe in for the Oscar. Do I love DiCaprio? Yes; he’s a talented, humble actor, a dedicated philanthropist, and extremely handsome to boot. Does he deserve to win the Oscar this year? Not at all.