|Leonardo DiCaprio |
(source: wiki commons)
Last week not only marked the 86th Academy Awards but the 20th Anniversary of Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar nomination in 1994 for his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Since then, he has been nominated for a further four Academy Awards, yet surprisingly has never won a single one, to the increasing outrage of the general public (#PoorLeo was trending worldwide after his fifth loss last week).
His impressive repertoire and general reputation as being a high quality and respected actor show that he clearly deserves an award, but these things also prove that he doesn’t need one to be successful and highly regarded in the acting world.
It does not seem to be the case that Leo isn’t talented enough to have the capability of winning an Oscar. Instead, other factors, mostly out of his control, have meant that he has missed out on an Academy Award for the entirety of his career so far. Firstly, it could be to do with the unfortunate timings of his nominations. I finally got round to watching The Wolf of Wall Street this weekend and DiCaprio really was great as Jordan Belfort. However, also up for nomination was Matthew McConaughey, who is very popular with critics at the moment and is said to be in the prime of his career. Leo tends to be overshadowed by other actors and their ‘career defining’ moments as he is already established and consistently good in all of his acting roles.
Furthermore, DiCaprio’s continuously high standard of acting in all of his roles means that it is perhaps less noticeable when he provides a great performance, as we have nothing worse to compare it too, thus diluting his successes somewhat. Also, this consistency means that other cast members have more freedom to experiment with their characters as Leo seemingly acts as a guarantee that the film itself will be of a high quality because he is starring in it. While it has contributed to him being a highly skilled and respected actor in his own right over the years, it could be argued that he hasn’t yet had his ‘career defining’ moment which could lead to an Oscar win.
However, it could be argued that DiCaprio’s success itself is an indication of his talents and that he doesn’t need an award to prove that. Directors and people in the film industry obviously regard him incredibly highly irrespective of awards. People are aware of his talents without confirmation from an award which almost gives them more value. If DiCaprio were to win an Oscar, it could be seen as trivialising his raw talents, and telling people something they had already decided for themselves.
To conclude, DiCaprio’s failure to win an Oscar has largely been down to unfortunate factors out of his control such as the other nominees. However, it could be argued that DiCaprio’s reputation for being a great actor means that he doesn’t necessarily need the Academy Award in order to prove himself to people who already regard him as talented.