In light of Leonardo DiCaprio’s most recent Oscar snub for a performance that our very own Simon Gallagher called ‘the most skin crawlingly evil Tarantino creation’, which is incredibly high praise when you remember Tarantino’s cameo in Pulp Fiction… That performance was affecting and entertaining, and DiCaprio’s performance was incredible, especially when you consider that this repugnant character was created by the same actor who brought wholesome, hunky hero Jack to life in Titanic.
This latest snub has got me reminiscing about an actor who has carried blockbusters, been a conduit between small movies and high returns whilst also being an incredible actor. Just how has this incredible talent, who has been a brilliant representative of Hollywood over the last 20 years, gone without academy recognition?
For people interested in the long version of this I have a 2 ½ hour musical number called ‘LeoW!’ in the works, for those interested in the short game: allow me to give you 5 films that DiCaprio should have won an Oscar for… but didn’t.
5. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Story dealing with handicap: Check!
Emotional ending: Check!
The crime he probably committed to put the academy off of his first Oscar Worthy Performance (which he was nominated for in the Best Supporting Actor Category) was being a little too young.
It’s stupid, but it is how the Academy works, it’s also incredibly difficult for a newcomer to win awards in the place of Hollywood legends who regularly get nominated but that can’t detract from his performance.
As mentally disabled Arnie he gives an emotional edge and connection to a film that borders on being hollow… In the good way, Johnny Depp’s Gilbert is disconnected and miserable and Arnie is a part of that but DiCaprio’s sweet natured, happy and thoroughly immersive performance makes the audience root for him and more importantly his brother to find happiness to keep Arnie looked after long after his beloved mother is gone.
Like The Joker in The Dark Knight the supporting character outshines the main character and helps make this movie have the impact it does; and Leo should have been rewarded for this.
Who won instead? Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive.
This article was first posted on January 12, 2013