For every actor unfairly left without an Oscar nomination, the same question comes to mind: What does a guy have to do to win an Oscar around here? Marveling at the mysterious nature of the Academy and its selection process, this thought doubtless runs through the (gorgeous) brain of Leonardo DiCaprio each and every year.
DiCaprio has climbed an Iowa water tower and lived to tell the tale. He's crash-landed a plane in Beverly Hills, been shot at by diamond smugglers in Sierra Leone, and has done all sorts of unmentionable things in lower Manhattan. Most powerfully and tragically of all, he drowned to save the love of his short life. Each of these memorable performances has moved audiences for years, but not one could win him the prestigious award. (The Titanic snub is still regarded in some fanzine circles as a travesty!)
And now, in his latest Oscar-nominated film, DiCaprio goes mano-a-mano with a mother Grizzly bear. What does this man have to endure to receive the coveted gold statuette? Has he not suffered enough?
Leonardo Dicaprio is a name seemingly never far from the limelight. Since his breakout into the industry in the early ‘90s, the Hollywood bigwig has rocked essentially every role imaginable. He has made us laugh, cry, smile, and sigh. He has been the heartthrob, the hero, the explorer, and the enigma. He hasn’t always made it out alive or with the girl, but he has always won America’s praise. These fifty shades of Leo (or so some wish) have developed into one of Hollywood’s most formidable talents.
Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards. Leo’s latest project, The Revenant, picked up 12 nominations. Included in the lengthy list was Best Actor, making this Leo’s fifth Oscar nomination in that category.
Leo’s first front row seat at the Oscars was reserved in 1994 for his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, where he played Johnny Depp's mentally handicapped brother. His next Oscar nod came in 2005 for his portrayal of Howard Hughes in The Aviator. In 2007, he was nominated for his depiction of a diamond smuggler in Blood Diamond. His work on and off camera for The Wolf of Wall Street gained him a nomination for both Best Actor and Best Motion Picture.
Despite a prolific resume and an ever-growing repertoire, how has Leo continuously managed to leave the Academy Awards without the accompaniment of a golden man for his mantle?
Leo is not alone in this predicament. A strong parallel can be drawn to Paul Newman, who similarly had a long and distinguished career. The Connecticut born actor, who died of lung cancer in 2008, was nominated for Best Actor a staggering seven times before being recognized by the Academy.
Newman’s first Oscar statue came not from a nomination or a specific role, but for his body of work. In 1986, Newman received an Honorary Oscar in recognition of his long and storied career. Ironically, Newman was unable to collect this Oscar in person as he was in Chicago on the set of The Color of Money, for which he would go on to win Best Actor the following year.
Is Leo destined to a fate like that of Paul Newman? Or is 2016, recently referred to as "the year of The Revenant," his year?
No matter the outcome of this year’s Academy Awards, Leo will certainly not waver. Having worked graciously with some of Hollywood’s greatest—including the likes of James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and now Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu—Leo has come to learn and appreciate the highest quality of work, and has earned himself the same esteem.
Although the boat may sink, the dream may end, and the elevator door may open, Leonardo Dicaprio has won the hearts of many with his work on and off the camera. With any luck, the Academy will soon come to the same conclusion.