Like anyone who grew up in the nineties, Leonardo DiCaprio was my epitome of a heartthrob. He had the looks, he had the personality, he had the credible roles, and he seemed to never get caught doing anything stupid. I have vivid memories of watching Growing Pains when I was five and being very sad that I would probably never see the super cute homeless kid again. I couldn’t figure out how to read his name in the credits (again, I was five), which to me meant that Hollywood would be a tough sell for him (in the same vein I totally knew Will Smith would be a huge star – only two syllables!).
Thankfully, living with the Seavers was not the last the world would see of DiCaprio. I celebrated my 12th birthday with my three best friends by having a Leo-marathon sleepover, which included renting What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (excellent), This Boys Life (disturbing), and The Basketball Diaries (so disturbing we had to spend an hour watching Recess before we were all ready to turn off the lights and go to bed*).
Titanic was released at the end of 1997, the timeframe etched in my memory thanks to my friend’s mother spending the whole drive to the movies in her freezing cold minivan yelling at us for wanting to see such a depressing movie before Christmas. Spoiler alert, much? She obviously had yet to fall under the spell of Leo D. Titanic film kicked off Leo-mania and gave DiCaprio the opportunity to spend time on projects he cared about, instant classics like Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, The Departed and Blood Diamond.
Frankly speaking, DiCaprio has been getting robbed for years. Any one of the films named so far in this blog, including the traumatizing Basketball Diaries, should have easily nabbed a Best Actor Oscar win for the handsome Leo. Nothing for Django Unchained? Are you kidding me?
The 2014 Oscars air this Sunday and if you’re a betting man, your money is probably on DiCaprio finally scoring a statue for Wolf Of Wall Street. While I will be the first in line to sign a petition saying the Oscars need to get their heads checked for having never given this man an award, I just can’t agree that Sunday should be the end of DiCaprio’s drought.
The problem with awards and contests and competition is that each year can differ so greatly by who else is in your category. If this were any other year, I would agree that DiCaprio’s role as Jordan Belfort deserves an Oscar.
But this is not any other year. This year’s Oscars race includes Chiwetel Ejiofor and his visceral performance in 12 Years A Slave and for that reason, I think Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar, just not this weekend.
Please don’t revoke my membership to the Leonardo DiCaprio Fan Club.
*Note: I don’t have negligent parents who willingly let four pre-teen girls watch a movie about drug abuse. I told them the girls from Sweet Valley High were in it and we all incorrectly assumed this would the Rudy of basketball movies.