When thinking about actors, Leonardo DiCaprio is unquestionably one of the greats.
Dashingly good looking, smooth in front of the camera, and able to embody a diverse range of characters in such a way that they could be mistaken as real. However, despite his illustrious career, filled with six Academy Nominations and 154 total nominations, he is yet to win an Oscar.
Leo’s professional acting career began at the raw age of five, where he was kicked off the set of children’s television series ‘Romper Room’. Since then, he has acted in 30 films, always producing work of the highest quality, receiving great praise from all, with mass amounts of fans flocking to the cinema on release day to watch his latest movie.
It is difficult to create a reasonable justification for why Leo is yet to take home an Oscar, as there have been more than enough chances for The Academy to reward him with the coveted ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role’, or, for that matter, any Oscar in any category; so, here are five times where I believe DiCaprio was deserving of an Oscar.
The Wolf of Wall Street: Jordan Belfort
To get the ball rolling, in this 2013 Scorsese recreation of the notoriously corrupt, deceptive and boisterous life of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, Leo turned himself into just that. He was suave, a playboy and as good a motivational speaker as Zig Ziglar. As Belfort, DiCaprio managed to convince anyone to do anything; from sanctioning cannonballing a midget in an office building to marrying a supermodel, there was no limit to his capabilities. Except, of course, convincing The Academy that he deserved an award.
Although Belfort’s actions were illegal, immoral, wrong, ruined many lives and tore apart families and relationships, there was a sense of awe when watching Leo; we wanted to be like him, speak like him, and have his swagger that had an auspicious aura. It ended up being Matthew McConaughey from the controversial ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ that received the award, for a film that perhaps gained most of its attention due to its lawsuits against piracy and illegal downloading. Even though it didn’t win, it took the third place and bronze medal in the all-time list of movies that most frequently use the word ‘F***’ – definitely something to be proud of.
‘Inception’ is one of the most thought provoking and unique films of all time, reaching far into dreams, which lead viewers to question what was fake and what was real. The cast was also quite strong, featuring DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, and a very talented director in Christopher Nolan. Surely Nolan guiding Leo is a recipe for an Oscar for ‘Best Actor’? Well, clearly it isn’t enough. The film finished up with four wins, but yet again, Leo himself didn’t win, as The Academy was more impressed by the technical and visual effects found in ‘Inception’ than Leo’s performance.
He plays a character who is battling against his troubling past, running away and trying to conquer it simultaneously. It was his love and passion for his two kids that kept me invested in his feisty ambitions and actions.
Django Unchained: Calvin Candie
From Christopher Nolan to Quentin Tarantino, I’m not sure how many duos of directors could be better. Having directed some of the best films ever, these two individuals know the tricks of the trade – here, I take a look at Tarantino’s history and influence on the world of cinema.
In this role, DiCaprio played a menacing, and even scary, plantation owner. He was such a powerful and terrifying character, that his swift maneuvering from hilarious to barbaric always had me drawn to what was going to happen next. He had my curiosity, as well as my attention, obviously (pun intended). The greatest travesty in the entertainment world in the year of 2012 may have been DiCaprio not even receiving a nomination for this performance; if you sit down and watch the film, I am certain you will understand why this was a shocking, and perhaps bigoted decision by The Academy.
The Departed: Billy Costigan
The 2006 film ‘The Departed’ holds up as one of Scorsese’s masterpieces, with intricate plot points and character development being a never-ending element of the film. There is a consistent level of intrigue, with an occasional difficulty to understand and follow the actions of the characters, especially Costigan and his infiltration of the mafia.
I enjoyed watching a younger DiCaprio, sporting a groovier look and offering a riveting chase scene that had my heart pounding in an otherwise calm but intense film – you can read my other thoughts in my review. It was Mark Wahlberg who was nominated for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role’, something that surprises me; personally, Wahlberg was the third best character in that category, with DiCaprio being my favourite and the best, followed by Matt Damon, with his portrayal of Colin Sullivan.
The Aviator: Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes is a famous historical figure and was recreated with a deal of class by Leonardo DiCaprio, gracefully taking his accomplishments as an aviation pioneer and film producer to the silver screen. It was special to see such a performance by DiCaprio, as he was so young and was beaming with skills and flair that promised an eminent future.
To the dismay of many, in this instance, it was Jaimee Foxx who won the Best Actor for his performance in ‘Ray’ as Ray Charles. I have no doubt that if these two performances went head-to-head once again, the award would be heading towards Leo.
So, what now? Will Leo ever win an Oscar?
My opinion is yes, he will. In 2015, Leo embodied Hugh Glass in ‘The Revenant’, a film that was a visual masterpiece which reached new heights in terms of cinematography – our review can be found here. Leo showed a revitalised passion and desire to be acknowledged for his role in the film, fighting a deadly bear, surviving the treacherous wilderness alone, and having a battle with nature just as difficult as his battle with his own humanity and spirit.
As he won the award for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama’ at the 2016 Golden Globes, things are looking good for Leo; the ever elusive experience of having his name called, walking up on stage, receiving his golden trophy and saying a heartfelt speech may be within reach for him, so close that it is almost tangible. Well, I hope things go well for him, at least.
Best of luck to Leonardo DiCaprio at The Oscars on February 28th, 2016.