By my count Leonardo DiCaprio should have ten Academy Award nominations by now, two wins for Best Actor and a win for Best Supporting Actor. Eight of the nominations would be for Best Actor, two for Supporting, but that is in my world, not the real world of the Academy.
Simply put, plainly but, truthfully put, he is the greatest actor of his generation, blessed with that sense of truth in his portrayals and a realism that simply few actors possess. He is Brando good, Streep good, and will be discussed for years long after he is gone. Yet, he is not even fifty — just think of the great performances that are still to come ! He is going to play a serial killer for Scorsese soon, and there is still that long-awaited Sinatra film he wants to do, along with being the most sought actor in the business.
With DiCaprio finally having won his long over due Oscar, and for a deserving performance, it is interesting to look back at the films he SHOULD have been nominated for (but didn’t)
Take a look.
1. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
As teen fraud artist Frank Abagnale, DiCaprio gave a brilliant performance for Steven Spielberg in this frothy comedy-drama that sees the young actor anchor a film with the likes of Tom Hanks, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams, and Christopher Walken. His confidence in the role was remarkable. Superb.
2. The Departed (2006)
He was nominated in 2006 but for Blood Diamond (2006) not his superior work as the tormented young under cover cop in Scorsese masterful film The Departed. Terrified of being found out, yet bound by honor to do his job, he creates a superb performance that deserved the nomination. Knowing the wrong move could be his last, a paranoia sets in that he cannot shake and this dominates his world.
3. Revolutionary Road (2008)
Reunited with Titanic (1997) co-star Kate Winslet, the pair do some of the best work of their careers as a young couple in suburbia fifties, trying to make a life for themselves. DiCaprio is excellent as Frank, married but with a wandering eye, content in a world his wife finds miserable. Winslet should have won the Oscar for her work here, instead getting it for The Reader (2008). They are superb together in this sad, haunting movie.
4. Shutter Island (2010)
Like a rat in a cage, DiCaprio is again superb as a Federal Marshall called to an insane asylum to find a woman who has disappeared. Yet nothing is as it seems. Watch the film twice and see all the hints as to where it is going, and what DiCaprio. The actor is remarkable capturing the many emotions needed to create this complex character. One of his most daring performances as we can feel the world closing in on him. The scene at the lake with his dead children is shattering.
5. J. Edgar (2011)
As the young J. Edgar Hoover, DiCaprio is the best thing in Clint Eastwood’s flawed film, giving a moving performance of a difficult, venomous man who was often said to be more powerful than the US President. Audiences seemed to struggle with the actor in make up as Hoover, but I thought the performance was excellent. They alluded to the cross dressing, to the homosexuality but did not make those aspects key to the film, instead exploring the life of a deeply flawed man addicted to power and his own warped sense of justice.
6. Django Unchained (2012)
In a rare supporting turn, DiCaprio is ferociously evil as Calvin Candie, a vicious plantation owner who uses his black slaves for sport, for wrestling to the death. When he discovers he is being scammed by two men claiming to be looking for a fighter, he turns ugly and cruel. It was a surprise to see the actor in such a role but he was outstanding. His eyes are filled with hate, and he is without question cruel, and when he smiles it is the smile of a cobra about to strike.