Few people have had a better, more consistent career than Leonardo DiCaprio. This year, at age 39, he was nominated for his THIRD best actor Oscar, 20 years after he was nominated for his first Oscar (best supporting actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape). Getting nominated for an Oscar twenty years apart is a pretty impressive feat within itself, but it’s what happened between those two Oscar noms that has brought Leo to where he is today.
All he’s done since his first Oscar nomination at the age of 19 was star in a slew of classic movies, dominate the profession like DeNiro did a generation before him and become the muse for one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. Oh, and he’s picked up three more Oscar nominations as well. Seriously, look at Leo’s movie lineup and name me one GLARING flaw. Obviously not all of his films achieved critical and box office success, but the movies he’s been in since ’93 and now for this ongoing 12 year stretch are insanely consistent. From 2002-2006 he made five films: Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond. That’s a good career for most actors. Leo turned it into a 5 year stretch of awesomeness. He made two films in 2008 (Body of Lies, Revolutionary Road) that were good movies, but nothing spectacular. He then followed that up with three monster performances with a weird J. Edgar in the middle: Shutter Island, Inception and Django Unchained. Those are 7 of the best movies of the past 12 years that had one huge thing in common: Leonardo DiCaprio.
All those memorable performances and fantastic movies have led to this year, where Leo is nominated for an Oscar for the fourth time in his career, this time for playing the wall street con man Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street. This year, just like every other year at the Oscars, Leo is up against a stacked list of nominees. I didn’t see Dern or Ejiofor, but I think it’s safe to say both men were very good in their lead role. I did, however, see Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. Bale was great in American Hustle, but with a great cast who all hit their performances out of the park, I think it will be tough for Bale to come away with the win. McConaughey was fantastic in Dallas Buyer’s Club. His physical transformation was mesmerizing and haunting, and he stole just about every scene he was in, which is quite the accomplishment considering he was in 95% of the scenes in the film. Without seeing Dern or Ejiofor, he’d be my early favorite to win. But I’d like to see Leo, 20 years after his first nomination, take home the golden statue. Either way, I can’t wait for March 2nd. May the best man win.