Sunday, February 2, 2014

5 Practical Reasons Why Leonardo DiCaprio Doesn't/Shouldn't Have an Oscar Yet, Tumblr


So if you look on my Tumblr page, 95% of it is Leonardo DiCaprio. Mostly because of my undying obsession with The Wolf of Wall Street, but also because the gifs that the site comes up with to chronicle Leo's apparent struggle for an Oscar are quite funny. Here are a few of my favourites:



  

Yes, it is entertaining, but it is a little bit excessive (as most things are on Tumblr, particularly seen by Jennifer Lawrence's meteoric rise to Queen of Everything). Let's take some calm, practical steps to acknowledge why Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is merely Oscar-Nominated Actor Leonardo DiCaprio instead of Oscar-Winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

1. Back up the truck, he's only 39 years old.



Paul Newman was 62 when he won his first Oscar. Christopher Plummer was 82. Peter O'Toole never even got an Oscar. Sure, there's more to an actor's life than winning an Oscar, but then again it is kind of annoying when 22 year old Jennifer Lawrence has an Oscar. Maybe it seems like Leo has been struggling for so long when really, this has been a saga that's been going on for 20 years - not really that much time. I mean, Brad Pitt doesn't have an Oscar, why is no one complaining about that? Since Leo got nominated for What's Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993, he waited another 11 years to be nominated for The Aviator, following it up two years later with a nomination for Blood Diamond, and now, 7 years later, we have his nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street. We only have four chances here for him not to get the award, and to be honest, a lot of actors suffer through worse (and let's not even get started on Roger Deakins). Which leads me to my next point...



2. Breaking down why he didn't win in the years he was nominated.



1993 is one of the only real "wtf" years that Leo was involved in, since the other two years went to quite deserving candidates. But even then, the 1993 award shouldn't have gone to Leo. That year, Tommy Lee Jones won the award for The Fugitive, when in actuality, the award should have gone to Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List, which still remains as my favourite performance of all time (seriously, why does no one ever talk about how the hell Ralph Fiennes doesn't have an Oscar? That's the real Oscar travesty). I'd say that up until The Wolf of Wall Street, What's Eating Gilbert Grape is the performance I'd pick to give Leo the title of "Oscar Winner Leonardo DiCaprio" because, well, it was the role that made me fall in love with him. In 2005, he lost to Jamie Foxx's performance in Ray, which was a rather good performance, but it is kinda strange to think that Foxx has more Oscars than Leo. And in 2007, he lost to Forest Whitaker's performance in The Last King of Scotland, but to be honest, Leo should have been nominated for The Departed instead of Blood Diamond. So it really isn't like Leo was unlawfully ignored when he was in contention.

3. SNUBBED.



We all know that there's many performances out there that should have been nominated - or even won - that didn't make it to the final cut. We have Tom Hanks and Brie Larson this year, but let's not even start with that. Now, many people I know (in fact everyone I know) gets really shocked when they hear Leo wasn't nominated for Titanic. Which I don't quite understand, because that's far from his best performance, but then again, considering how many other nominations the film got, it was weird he missed out. So consider that exhibit A of "Leo vs. the Academy". And then what about when Leo didn't get nominated for The Departed? Sure, he had Blood Diamond as sort of a consolation prize, but The Departed is still one of his strongest works (plus, Mark Wahlberg got nominated for it and look at how terrible his filmography is now). Revolutionary Road is another one that sticks out, but that film had a curious case: Kate Winslet's category fraud saw her win the Golden Globe for Best Actress for Revolutionary Road and also Best Supporting Actress for The Reader. All of a sudden her performance in The Reader was considered as a leading role, and then Revolutionary Road was pushed out. The film still managed to get a nomination for Michael Shannon's brief performance, but Leo's snub for that hurts quite a bit. It definitely wasn't the Titanic reunion people were hoping for.

However, the snub of Leo's career that hurts the most was his omission from last year's Best Supporting Actor ballot for his performance in Django Unchained. On paper, it has everything that would make the Academy buzz: Leo checking Quentin Tarantino off his "Acclaimed Directors Bingo", playing completely against type...and they always love a villain. However, somehow Leo missed out on a nomination, with a nomination instead going to Christoph Waltz, who subsequently won. I have nothing against Christoph Waltz's performance (it is fantastic), but compared to Leo's performance, I just don't get how Leo wasn't nominated. For one thing, last year's supporting actor ballot was weak, and Leo easily topped them all, but also, how about that one scene where he cuts his hand and uses it to a terrifying extent? Sure, that's only one scene, but it proves that Leo is dedicated, and not just the pretty boy who can get bums on seats that many people touted he would be after the success of Titanic. His performance in Django Unchained never misses a beat: he's having fun, even though we're all terrified of him, and it is certainly the most different we've seen him. Of all the possible "Leo vs. the Academy" situations, the whole Django Unchained is the only one that doesn't make clear and perfect sense to me.

4. "He's Oscar baiting" "Leo must really want that Oscar" etc...


  

Now this is an interesting one. When Django Unchained came out, everyone - myself included - were all like "oh wow, how good it is to see Leo loosen up and stop with those Oscar bait movies".

Then, if you really think about it, did we really go through an uninterrupted phase where all Leo did were Oscar movies? No. In fact, I truly think there's only one film that could be seen as an out and out Oscar bait project for Leo: J. Edgar. And boy, was that misguided. It has become a rule of thumb to immerse yourself in a real life character in order to be seen by the Academy. Which Leo did do, with ten tonnes of prosthetic makeup helping him chart each stage of J. Edgar Hoover's life, a thick accent, but unfortunately no script that did his dedication justice, instead making it look like a plea for attention from the Academy. Though it did get attention from both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild, Leo missed out on the Oscar nomination thanks to Gary Oldman getting his well overdue first nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Which was for the best, because J. Edgar was genuinely terrible and it dragged Leo down with it.

But would we really say that outside of J. Edgar, Leo's been Oscar baiting? I wouldn't. His filmography is so strong that Oscar nominations or not, he certainly has one of the most impressive resumes in Hollywood. Sure, The Great Gatsby could have been Oscar bait if it was nominated in late 2012 like it was supposed to (and I genuinely do think his performance in that warrants some recognition, he is a perfect fit for the character). Yes, Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street do signify a new turn for Leo, when we finally see him loosening up and not playing a whole bunch of characters that no matter how different, all fit under the same serious umbrella. If that makes it sound like Leo doesn't have a lot of range, just look at his filmography. He's seamlessly grown with his career (which is something that Jennifer Lawrence may have a few issues with), going from the young actor with a lot of promise, to the hottest movie star, to the serious actor, and now the guy who's trying a few wilder flavours to see where that gets him. And for that, yes, Leo does try his best. And that's enough for all of us.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street.



Leonardo's best performance to date, I think, is his performance as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. Why? Because I've been watching a whole lot of interviews with the real Jordan Belfort, and I was surprised by how little difference there is between the real life Belfort and his movie counterpart. I've never really seen Leo as the Daniel Day-Lewis type, but his performance in Wolf is possibly his most immersive piece of work. Every speech, every Quaalude induced movement, every moment of disgusting debauchery is part of such a layered, masterful performance that sees Leo stretch his ability to have fun but still be totally in control. It is a beyond perfect performance. But where does that see Leo in terms of Oscar? It would seem like Matthew McConaughey is very much in control of the Oscar race right now, but here's some food for thought: Leo and Matty M will never be pitted against each other until Oscar night. At the Golden Globes, where they both won, Matty won for Drama, while Leo won for Comedy. Leo missed out on a SAG nod, likely because The Wolf of Wall Street came out so late (just as what happened to Christoph Waltz last year). Matty missed out on a BAFTA nod, because Dallas Buyers Club wasn't eligible, which could see Leo taking out that award. And then we have Oscar night. I know I'll probably end up disappointed come the time when Matthew McConaughey's name gets called out (and I'll be happy if that happens, because his career comeback has been the best thing ever), but I'm just saying that Leo poses a much bigger threat to the ceremony than people give him credit for.

Is it time to give him that Oscar? I'd be happy if he could get it now, because it would be so hard for him to top The Wolf of Wall Street until he starts going the full Daniel Day-Lewis in his 50's and plays every American president. And let's be honest here: his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street is easily the best of the year, because he plays up his own movie star persona to induce this terrifying portrayal of one of the most controversial, horrible people who can still walk around in a rich life freely. I'd give him the Oscar now. And if he loses, then we can really start making up conspiracy theories of why Leo doesn't have an Oscar yet.

Until then, Tumblr, continue making your gifsets of Jennifer Lawrence doing funny facials, just to blow her stardom even more out of proportion, because we all love that so much.

What do you think about Leo's career? Would you give him an Oscar yet? 

20 comments:

  1. Fantastic post. I agree with everything written here. The only reason my devotion to Leo is so fervent this year is because not only is WoWS the best performance of his career, it is also the best performance of the year and it truly deserves to win the Oscar. Also, the Django Unchained snub was really the first time I was properly pissed at the Oscars for subbing him, since I had not watched Revolutionary Road the year it had come out.
    I know Leo has years to go, but will he ever get the chance of playing someone like Jordan Belfort? He's both current and a real-life caricature of a man.

    I do hope that whatever the results may be, Leo keeps following the path of Django Unchained and WoWS and choose comedic-type performances because there's a real talent there.

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    1. He definitely does deserve to win for Wolf, because it is the performance of the year. I won't be surprised if he doesn't win, but I'll be bitterly disappointed.

      I think his true talent lies in comedy. He has impeccable comic timing. I mean sure, he's a fine dramatic actor, but I think that Wolf is definitely the finest we'll ever get from him.

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  2. I must agree to some extent, there are amazing actors/actresses out there who don't have the statue and yet, they deserve it. I mean, Fassbender deserved it for Shame, it was a far better performance than he had in 12 Years of Slave and not to mention all those names you gave here. And somehow, Leo's snubs and lack of statue has felt much more personal some how. Maybe it's because in a way, he has always been there.. in great movies, movie after movie, he has not let us down.. while some have had rom-com's and misses in their careers.. Leo seems to hit it.. every time, or maybe it's just me.

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    1. A huge yes to Fassy deserving it more for Shame - that was pretty much the snub of the century. But you definitely hit the nail on the head, it does seem personal because he has never let us down really. The great performances just keep on coming, it is really wonderful, and I'd love to see him get recognised now.

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  3. This is an amazing piece, you made excellent points. I think Leo is deserving of this year's Oscar. It's the best performance of the year and of his career- he was able to sell his character, and he was able to have fun with it. Granted, he'll still be working on new projects and with his performance rate, I think it's still possible that he will get meatier, and playful roles in the future, but that doesn't mean his performance this year should be ignored - and not merit winning that Oscar. McConaughey is a steep competition, considering that the actor has been redeeming his career with fantastic performances (and he'll be able to put those god-awful earlier roles behind him). I haven't seen his nominated performance yet, so I can't form an opinion on who should win between the both of them.

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    1. Matthew McConaughey is wonderful in Dallas Buyers Club, and it is fantastic to see how he has rebuilt his career. However, I still think that Leo has the better performance. He definitely has decades of work in front of him, but I think we'd be hard pressed to find a film so tailor made for him as Wolf was. But if Leo can keep building on this momentum, that would be great!

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  4. Great post, Stevee. I think McConnaughey has gotten enough praise for his comeback and everyone knows that he's a great actor now. He's in, the Oscar won't change that much for him. Leo, however, has been great for such a long time, and in my opinion that's even better than finally succeeding. I also agree that his performance was just the 100% objectively best of this year.

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    1. Definitely agree with you - Leo's due, Matty's done well but he can keep going. And yes, Wolf was definitely the best performance of the year.

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  5. Hilarious post! But I completely disagree with you about Leo deserving the Oscar this year. He was fantastic in Wolf of Wall Street, but I personally felt that his performance paled in comparison to McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. I don't think it was much of a stretch for DiCaprio to play a confident, loud, sharp-looking wolf of Wall Street. He's had better performances in the past (IMO).

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    1. I agree that it wasn't much of a stretch for DiCaprio, but absolutely nobody could have done it better than him, and that's why I love his performance so much.

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  6. Brilliant post! I really enjoyed reading this. I agree with you completely - Leo should have won for Gilbert Grape because his performance in that film was nothing short of outstanding. However, winning at such a young age can be a real negative for some actors so at the minute I can live with the fact that he hasn't won yet. When he does win (because it HAS to happen) it will be totally worth it regardless of what role he wins for, simply because for me it will symbolise the Academy's recognition of all of his brilliant work.
    It will be really interesting on Oscar night to see if McConaughey or DiCaprio gets it because, as you said, they haven't been competing against each other yet - I've yet to see Dallas Buyers Club but I am really rooting for Leo.

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    1. If he got the Oscar at that age, I doubt his career would have become what it is now. But yes, whenever he does get it, it won't be for a single performance, it'll be for them all.

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  7. After seeing him in The Wolf of Wall Street. I'd realize that he just topped himself in every way and more. Not only did he give the performance of his career but one that stands up there with the greats. Most of all, it was so goddamn funny. I had never laughed so hard in my life in all of the antics he does. He's supposed to be very despicable and vile individual but I was totally having fun with that character and wanted to party with him. Even in the little moments, he was bringing ounces of life into that character. It's really one for the ages and while I would've rooted for Joaquin Phoenix if he was nominated. Leo is my ultimate choice to win the Oscar and if he doesn't. He should go out there and give a Stone-Cold stunner to the Academy.

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    1. His performance is definitely the best of his career in Wolf, and I've seen 'em all. Everything he does is so balanced, even if he's playing a character far from balanced. I can't wait to see what he actually does when he wins, because he should definitely go all out on his speech. I don't want to see anything dignified.

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  8. leo has had many,many great performances and he won't play the Oscar game -----maybe this time, they will realize how unfair they have been to leo-----they are jealous of the person he is---that is all I can figure out about these people------and they are being looked at as far as the way they vote-----currently being investigated-------

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    1. They are definitely jealous. He has the perfect career.

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  9. Haha omg those gifs on top are brilliant. While I feel he deserved to win for Gilbert Grape and (at least) a nomination for Django, I can agree that it's not his time right now. When his Oscar role comes out, I think it'll slap us all across the face, and we'll KNOW this is the one! That's how I feel about his future Oscar...there will be no doubt or question.

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    1. I know that Wolf is the one, but I don't think he's gonna be like Meryl Streep who they just give nominations and awards to all the time because he showed up in a movie. Each and every time he'll actually deserve it.

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  10. Awesome post! He gives a powerhouse performance in WOWS, and I really hope he gets the Oscar for it. I don't want to see Leo get an Oscar in his 50s or 60s. He should get one for his best work (to date), which is also the best in that category. Timing is everything when it comes to the Oscars, and Leo hasn't had a good break. Maybe his late storm will lead to an Oscar victory. Sadly, I think McConaughey is probably taking it easily. (I prefer him in Mud, but I'd be happy for him.)

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You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

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