Want To Win An Oscar? Then Don’t Be Leonardo DiCaprio
Poor Leo, always the bridesmaid, fourth time unlucky etc etc.
Ok, there have been quite enough outpourings of sympathy for Mr. DiCaprio over the last 48 hours and this is, let’s not forget, one of Hollywood’s highest earners, raking an in an estimated $39 million in fees last year alone, placing him at no.6 on Forbes’ list of highest paid actors.
Still, on the 20th anniversary of his first Oscar nomination, Leo is still walking away empty-handed. It’s not like his films - or his performances, for that matter - have been duds either: two of the films he has starred in did pick up Oscars for Best Picture (1997’s Titanic and 2006’s The Departed) and yet that elusive acting award continues to slip through his fingers.
Below we take a look at the list of near misses and try to figure out where poor old Leo is going wrong. So, not wanting to rub salt in the wound here, but this week’s helpful nugget of advice for aspiring actors & actresses is this: Want to win an Oscar? Then don’t be Leonardo DiCaprio…
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Technically the odd one out on this list – DiCaprio was nominated for Best Supporting Actor only – but the 66th Academy Awards held in 1994 was where Leo got his first taste of disappointment. Nominated for his role alongside Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis in Lasse Hallström’s touching film, Leo was just 19 years old when he played the part of Arnie Grape, younger brother to Depp’s Gilbert. Despite a performance that introduced him to the world as a star in the making, DiCaprio was up against some stiff competition in his category, having been nominated alongside Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List), Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father) and John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire), all of whom eventually lost out to Tommy Lee Jones for his role in The Fugitive.
Leo 0, Oscars 1.
More than a decade after his first Oscar nomination, 2005 saw Leo finally beginning to get some real recognition, receiving his first nomination for Best Actor for his starring role in Martin Scorcese’s Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator. Among the other nominees were Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland), Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) and Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby), only to be pipped to the post again thanks to a career-defining performance from Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, which is difficult to argue with. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sometimes, it’s all about timing.
Leo 0, Oscars 2.
Just two years later, Leo was back among the nominees again, this time for his role in Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, in which he played a ruthless South African named Danny Archer, a key player in the conflict diamonds business. This time around he was up against Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson), Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) and Peter O’Toole, only to be left disappointed when Forrest Whittaker took home the golden statuette for his acclaimed portrayal of another African, former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Which, again, is difficult to dispute, but Leo's luck isn't getting any better.
Leo, Oscars 3. This is getting embarrassing…
The Wolf of Wall Street
And so to this year and another Scorcese collaboration, this time with a screen adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s autobiography, The Wolf of Wall Street. Perhaps wanting to double his chances, Leo was up for two Oscars for this film – he was its producer as well as its leading star – but, alas, it wasn’t to be, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave taking the Best Picture prize. To make matters worse, Leo was up against Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) but eventually lost out to one of his Wolf Of Wall Street co-stars, Matthew McConaughey, who took home the golden statuette for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.
Leo 0, Oscars 4. Fifth time’s a charm, anyone?