By: Nick Gambino
This past Sunday 34 million viewers tuned in to the Academy Awards to see Leonardo
DiCaprio win his much-deserved and ever elusive Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Revenant.
The 41-year old actor is easily the best to do it in the last 20 years. This is not opinion, this is internet fact, proven by the hordes of memes and GIFs begging someone to please give Leo his Oscar already. Even College Humor got in on the action.
It’s been a long time coming with Leo scoring his first Oscar nod in 1994 for playing a kid who’s developmentally disabled in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He lost that year to Tommy Lee Jones and his role in The Fugitive.
His loss that year would be his first but not his last. Though it would take another 11 years before he’d receive another nomination from the Academy, Leo continued to turn in strong performances.
In 2005 his efforts were acknowledged once again with an Oscar nod for his complex
portrayal of Howard Hughes in The Aviator. He lost that night to Jaime Foxx who killed it as Ray Charles in Ray.
That loss was forgivable as Foxx was truly incredible as the late musician. So we let it slide.
Two years later Leo found himself on the receiving end of another nomination from the Academy for his knock-it-outta-the-park performance as the South African, Danny Archer. That could’ve been the worse movie in the world (on the contrary, it’s amazing) and Leo still would’ve deserved a nod if not for his performance then for his accent. Talk about nailing a dialect!
But alas, it was not to be. Forest Whitaker took home the Best Actor award for The Last King of Scotland.
Again, it’s kind of hard to get mad because as before, he lost to another solid performer. But still, it’s starting to sting a little.
Now, let’s fast forward seven years to his next nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street. His portrayal of excessive, out-of-his-freaking-mind, stock-broker Jordan Belfort was one for the history books (or movies.) I know some can’t stomach the debauchery and excess of this movie but Leo’s performance is the work of a master thespian. For proof just check out his Quaalude episode scene.
Now, I was positive he was going to win this time around but…well, congrats Matthew McConaughey. You deserve it too I guess.
By this point, the internet is going nuts. The general consensus is, “How has this guy not won an Oscar yet?! Every performance is gold. Just give him one already.”
It’s not just the losses, it’s the lack of nominations. Sure he’s been nominated 5 times as an Actor but there were easily 10 to15 worthy of the same. Forget great roles like Jack in Titanic or Romeo in Romeo + Juliet. How about Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries, Amsterdam Vallon in Gangs of New York, Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can, Billy in The Departed, Calvin Candie in Django Unchained…need I go on? Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inception…ok I’ll stop.
But kudos to the Academy for finally giving him a little gold man for The Revenant, though I think of that one award as acknowledging all his past iconic performances.
Congratulations, Leo. You’re the King of the World!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.