Is the Oscar Drought Finally Over for DiCaprio?

Leonardo DiCaprio began his career as a child artist. He worked his way through television roles and advertisements. He first appeared on the silver screen in a B-rated horror film called Critters 3. In 1993, DiCaprio proved himself a worthy actor when he played mentally handicapped younger brother to Johnny Depp in the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

DiCaprio had a relatively major success with his film Romeo + Juliet, but it was not until he played another tragic lover in Titanic that DiCaprio became a household name. In the immediate aftermath of the film’s success DiCaprio found himself lost at what project to pick next. How does one follow-up to starring in the highest grossing films of all time?

Rather than star in a string of high profile movies DiCaprio chose to continue building his resume as an actor with roles such as The Man in the Iron Mask and an odd horror movie, The Beach.

It was recently discovered that around this time George Lucas asked DiCaprio star in the Star Wars reboots as Anakin Skywalker. DiCaprio wisely refused the role and chose to work with acclaimed director Martin Scorsese’s film, Gangs of New York instead. The film was released in 2002.  For diehard DiCaprio fans, this is the year the Oscar drought began for DiCaprio.

DiCaprio has either been snubbed of a nomination or lost every year since 2002.  He has been nominated for his work in The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street. He has been snubbed of an Oscar nomination for starring in films such as Gangs of New York, Inception, The Departed, The Great Gatsby, Django Unchained, and Body of Lies.

He has lost to some questionable competition, such as Jamie Foxx in Ray and he has also lost to some well-deserved performances like Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. Regardless, he is finally the front-runner for Academy Award for his performance in The Revenant.

DiCaprio underwent extreme conditions to finish this film. The crew spent extra time filming in the frigid conditions of the Canadian Rockies where many of the crew quit due to extreme conditions. DiCaprio went into extreme method acting and chose to eat an actual bison heart in one scene, despite being a vegetarian.

He immersed himself in freezing water, and spent hours applying makeup to achieve the perfect appearance. Indeed, DiCaprio takes his dedication to his art to a whole new level in this film, and it shows when movie-goers watch as DiCaprio treks across 250 miles of pure hell on screen.

DiCaprio seems to have finally made the Oscar-worthy film with The Revenant. He has long been denied the highest award an actor can achieve in their field, and it looks like this might be the year he finally gets what he deserves. However, it does not seem that DiCaprio deserves the award for, “Best Actor,” this year because he did not act as much as live through the role. He certainly put himself in the elements and threw his body and mind into the role, but there was an evident lack of emotion.

Every viewer has to ask himself, “Could any other actor have done this role?” And the sad answer is, “YES!”  Sir Anthony Hopkins played the role of a wanderer lost in the woods in The Edge, Mel Gibson made the same movie with Apocalypto, and even Val Kilmer made a movie about being hunted down and surviving called The Ghost and the Darkness.

Honestly, if DiCaprio wins the Oscar this year it will have been out of pity.  He should have won for The Aviator or Django Unchained.

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