This could be the year Leonardo Dicaprio captures his elusive Academy Award.
The 2016 Academy Awards has several storylines worth noting, but one in particular has fans and those in the industry following closely. Leonardo DiCaprio is considered by many to be one of the great actors of this generation yet has never won an Oscar. This year however, according to John Milton, this year’s Male Actor award is destined to go to DiCaprio.
One of the more popular Oscar-related hash tags that is trending this year is #oscarsowhite, which is a call for more diversity in many of the major acting categories. One hash tag that is gaining steam is #oscarforleo, which is a campaign of sorts to show the anticipation of what could be DiCaprio’s first Academy Award for his critically-acclaimed performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s The Revenant.
One of the issues that could arise with the praise showered upon DiCaprio’s career is that his achievements could create a bias even with members of the Academy itself. Harvey Weinstein is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. According to US Weekly, at a recent amfAR event in New York, Weinstein let everyone know his clear public support for DiCaprio.
“As an Academy member, you’re not supposed to endorse anyone up for an Academy Award, but I have to say Leo DiCaprio is so amazing in The Revenant.” Says Weinstein. “His devotion and the way he rolls it all up into something beautiful is amazing. I’ve never worked with anyone who’s so wonderful and so classy”
Dicaprio’s career has been littered with dazzling performances that have done well at the box office and garnered critical acclaim. His role as Johnny Depp’s mentally disabled brother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?gained him notoriety as well as his first Oscar nomination. It was however his performance in James Cameron’s Titanic in 1995, the highest grossing movie ever up until that point, that transformed him into a superstar.
He continued to wow Hollywood with dazzling dramatic skill throughout the next few years. Although his work was recognized, he continued to get either snubbed by the Academy (Titanic, Django: Unchained) or unfortunate enough to be nominated in tougher years (Ralph Fiennes/Schindler’s List in 1994, Jamie Foxx/Ray in 2004)
Dicaprio has had more than a dozen Oscar-worthy roles that for some reason or another were not recognized by the academy in that particular year. Whether it was his gritty role as an undercover detective in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, or an investigator in search of answers at a mysterious mental institution in Shutter Island, his ability to command a screen with his presence has always been on full display.
Dicaprio is receiving buzz this year for his performance as Hugh Glass in The Revenant, a story about a mountain man in the 1820’sthat is mauled by a bear and left for dead by his companions. His transformation into the grizzled Glass, as well as some of the stories told from the set of the production has only added to the hype. Actors have long been subjected to several physical and mental strains in the name of their art, but some of the things Dicaprio is said to have done (which include eating actual pieces of bison and sleeping in animal carcasses) are already the stuff of legend.
“I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do,” he told Yahoo. “Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly.”
“The truth is that I knew what I was getting into” he went on to say.” This was a film that had been floating around for quite some time, but nobody was crazy enough to really take this on, simply because of the logistics of where we needed to shoot and the amount of work and rehearsal that would have to be done to achieve Alejandro and [cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki] vision. It’s epic poetry, an existential journey through nature, and this man finding a will to live against all odds. Yet he changes, nature changes him and I think those elements changed him while we were doing the movie.”
There are many reasons to keep an eye on the outcome of the 2016 Academy Awards, but Leonardo Dicaprio’s first Oscar seems inevitable and will keep the industry talking for years to come.