COMMENTARY | Most movie fans in America think Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Academy Award; some are even surprised when they find out he hasn’t nabbed a little golden statue yet.
DiCaprio should have won Best Supporting Actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, in 1993, and Best Actor for The Aviator, in 2004. He lost to Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive for supporting and to Jamie Foxx in Ray for Best Actor.
The Wolf of Wall Street is DiCaprio’s fourth Oscar nomination and his best performance. A character as outrages and complex as Jordan Belfort is usually what Oscar voters adore; but, unfortunately, Matthew McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club checks all of the boxes that Academy members can’t resist: transformation, career performance and an actor who fought to get his character on film. DiCaprio fought for Wolf as well, but McConaughey’s path was more difficult.
DiCaprio feels due, but that doesn’t always win an actor an Oscar. He took a risk playing such a appalling person as Belfort. Last year, he took a chance in Django Unchained. With Wolf he took it to another level showing the unethical behavior of a Wall Street trader and crook.
Who knew DiCaprio could be so funny? The scene at the country club after, Belfort takes the 1981 Quaaludes that Jonah Hill’s character gives him as a gift, is one of the funniest movie scenes I’ve ever seen. DiCaprio was channeling Buster Keaton when he’s trying to make it out the club doors to his white Lamborghini, but his body has shut down. It’s such a physical, funny performance that the audience I saw Wolf with was rolling and leaning over in their seats laughing so hard.
After the intense microphone speeches at the Stratton Oakmont offices and the Quaalude scene, how could any Oscar forecaster say DiCaprio isn’t a contender on March 2?
Every time I hear someone say, “Oh, he’s young; he’s got time to win one,” it’s not true. I’m sure many Oscar voters thought the same about Alfred Hitchcock, Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, who all never won a competitive Academy Award.
If DiCaprio has to pick up an Honorary Oscar in his seventies…give the guy the award already.
Note: I’ve written pieces for Yahoo! Voices and Yahoo! Sports for about two years.