In an exceptional career spanning more than two decades, Oscars have somehow stayed away from Leonardo DiCaprio like he was contagious. That is, until now. s And, judging by the standing ovation he received, it’s about time.
Leonardo was first nominated for his part as a mentally challenged teenager in the cult classic, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. After missing out on that Oscar, Leo seemed to focus more on winning the hearts of teenage girls the world over, as opposed to winning the hearts of critics, as he became a heartthrob through romantic roles in films like Romeo and Juliet and Titanic. That being said, his performances were always stellar – which is something critics began to pick up on with his incredible turn as Howard Hughes in 2004’s, The Aviator.
DiCaprio again missed out on that Oscar, and missed out on another two for his roles in Blood Diamond and The Wolf of Wall Street. However, these losses didn’t manage to convince audiences that Leo wasn’t anything short of an incredible actor, and, more importantly, they didn’t dissuade Leonardo himself from turning in increasingly superlative performances.
Why 2016 is Leo’s Oscars Year
Leonardo was up against some stiff competition this year. Coming off his win for portraying Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne looked in fine form. The ever-brilliant Michael Fassbender and Bryan Cranston also offered formidable performances, which were matched by the sentimental favourite, Matt Damon.
However, Hollywood bet-makers flagged Leo as a sure thing to win, and his odds paid the least of any actor previously nominated. So, what made 2016 Leo’s year?
DiCaprio’s performance may not, arguably, have been the greatest of the year – or even the greatest of his personal career. But then, as certain experts have stated, the Oscars don’t tend to look absolutely objectively at performances when they give out awards. Leonardo, owing to his incredible body of work, simply deserved a win this year.
This is not to say that he wasn’t brilliant. On the contrary, Leonardo physically suffered to bring his character to life. Facing frigid conditions and pushing himself to do things that seemed unnatural – like eating a raw bison liver – Leonardo literally suffered for his art, and proved to the Academy that he really wanted this award.
Whether the Academy reacted to his commitment to The Revenant alone or to his entire career, it seemed to make the right choice by finally giving Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar. Will it be another 20 years before he wins another? We’ll have to wait and see. But, if we know anything about this tenacious actor, it’s that he’s not one to give up, whether in defeat or victory.
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