Earlier this week saw the release of the trailer for Martin Scorsese's latest movie, "The Wolf Of Wall Street", and we got another glimpse at the chameleonic talent that is Leonardo DiCaprio. It's not an overstatement to say that Leo is one of, if not THE best actor of our generation, often called "our Robert De Niro". He has been consistently fantastic in everything he's been in, yet has also consistently lost out on that elusive Academy Award. He's been nominated three times - Best Actor for The Aviator and Blood Diamond, Best Supporting Actor for What's Eating Gilbert Grape? - but he's always left applauding the eventual winner, doing his best not to look disappointed in front of the millions of Oscar viewers.
When you get right down to it, there is a certain set number of roles that will win you the Oscar, and they usually fall under the heading of the following; Based On A True Story - whereby you play a famous historical character, or the movie is set against the background of a famous historical event, Mental Issues - whereby you play a character with a mental disability of some description, Gay - pretty much self-descriptive, Topical - the film will have a serious subject matter ranging from the likes of slavery to the war on terror, Famous Adaptations - when all else fails, make a movie that is already beloved the world over, and finally, set a movie in World War II, and it'll be guaranteed to pique the attention of the Oscar voters.
How many of these roles has DiCaprio played? Well, let's have a look see…
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
J. Edgar, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, Titanic (kind of)
Inception, Shutter Island, The Aviator, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
J.Edgar, The Basketball Diaries (kind of)
Django Unchained, Body Of Lies, Blood Diamond
The Great Gatsby, Revolutionary Road, Romeo & Juliet, Marvin's Room, This Boy's Life
WORLD WAR II
So … a lot. A LOT a lot! This is not an all-inclusive list of his roles (let us not forget his work in the likes of Gangs Of New York, The Departed, Celebrity, The Man In The Iron Mask and The Quick & The Dead), but it is clear that his CV is bursting at the seams with memorably iconic roles, any one of which most other actors would sell their grandmothers for. So then, why has he been left going home empty handed after the Academy Awards ceremonies each year? We've got our theories:
LACK OF SHOWBOATING
Think to Daniel Day Lewis' performances in the likes of Lincoln and There Will Be Blood. Colin Firth in The King's Speech. Sean Penn in Milk. Any recent Best Actor win, really. All fine performances, all riddled with moments for when the "And the nominees are…" bit comes up at the awards ceremony, there's a LOUD SHOUTY bit for them to show off how great they were. But for the most part, DiCaprio's roles have been introverted and a bit less showboat-y. Sure, every now and again we get to see him turn his swagger on, or he gets all screechy-in-someone's-face, but more often than not he's acting with his eyes and minimal movements, and we've no idea what's going on in his mind, or what he might do next. And we mean that in a good way.
The three times he was nominated, he lost out to the following: his role in Blood Diamond was a runner-up to Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, his role in The Aviator was a runner up to Jamie Foxx in Ray, and his role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? was a runner up to Martin Landau in Ed Wood. Three fantastic actors in three career-defining roles, and in all three cases, he probably didn't deserve to beat them. But there have been other years where he gave fantastic, nuanced performances and didn't even get nominated; he's heart-breaking turn in Revolutionary Road missed out on nominations to the likes of Morgan Freeman in Invictus, or his layered hero/villain character in The Departed wasn't nominated back in 2005 but forgettable fare like Tommy Lee Jones in In The Valley Of Elah or Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd both were. Like we said, unlucky.
Seriously now, have you seen Leonardo DiCaprio? Like, have you actually seen him? Has he aged at all in the last ten years? We think back to when every teenage girl had a poster of him on their bedroom wall, and we men hated him - HATED HIM, like the way we hated Boyzone and Take That back in the day - for how much attention he got. But then we grew up, and so did he, and suddenly DiCaprio was working with Scorsese and it was totally okay to like him as an actor. But now we've got to love / hate / envy him for a whole new reason; his list of girlfriends. Gisele Bundchen, Blake Lively and supermodels Madalina Ghenea, Bar Refaeli, Erin Heatherton and countless more are on DiCaprio's "ex list", so maybe the Oscar voters just take a look at his life and think "F*ck that guy!"
Daniel Day Lewis did Nine. Colin Firth did Bridget Jones's Diary. Philip Seymour Hoffmann was in Along Came Polly. Hell, even Sean Penn did an episode of Friends. Every actor needs to let off some steam, to show that they're not just powering through their career with one heavy movie after another, but that's something that DiCaprio is missing. Even his attempts into an action flick with Inception still ended up with him playing character desperately trying to overcome the guilt and depression surrounding the death of his wife. Is DiCaprio the kind of person you could see popping up in a rom-com? No, but maybe he should. Not necessarily He's Just Not That Into New Year's Eve This Valentine's Day Diary, but something that shows his comedic, light-hearted side, like Ryan Gosling did in Crazy Stupid Love.
So there we have it, some tips for good ol' Leo should he ever want or need them. The Wolf Of Wall Street looks fantastic, and it ticks off some of the Oscar must-haves - Topical, Based On A True Story, Famous Adaptations - but it also looks funny as hell. You never know, 2014 could be DiCaprio's year!