What you definitely know him from:
Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, Inception
What you might know him from:
The Departed, Romeo and Juliet, Shutter Island
What you probably don’t know him from:
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Revolutionary Road
If you’re female and in your mid twenties, chances are you had posters of this man all over your walls in the late nineties. You also probably sobbed your young heart out at the end of Titanic whilst screaming “MOVE OVER, THERE’S ENOUGH ROOM YOU BITCH!” at Kate Winslet and her lies about never letting go and you probably still hate her because of it because if it wasn’t for her Jack would have lived and if she had just moved over an inch she would have lived a much happier life because Jack would have been with her, well actually he probably would have dumped her straight away as he was young and beautiful but wait this could never have happened because SHE DIDN’T MOVE OVER SO HE FROZE AND THEN SHE LET GO.
Sorry. It still hurts.
Now, getting back on track. The end of the nineties propelled DiCaprio into the world of Hollywood thanks to roles in Titanic and Romeo and Juliet. Now, sixteen years later, he’s still one of the most wanted actors on the planet. But why? Is it because he is bound to bring in the big bucks? Maybe it’s that he doesn’t seem to age? Or maybe it’s down to the fact that he’s actually a very talented actor…
Starting with the most recent of the three films selected, Django Unchained sees DiCaprio play the role of Calvin Candie, owner of the ‘Candyland’ plantation in Mississippi. The villainous role is unlike what we’ve seen before from DiCaprio, who sports a rather unflattering beard whilst hurling racist comments left, right and centre. For me, he is the film’s unsung hero. When awards season rolled around, it was co-star Christoph Waltz who was endorsed for Best Supporting Actor nominations and many of which he rightly won. However, a few did propel DiCaprio’s name into the mix but sadly their voices were not heard. DiCaprio is magnificent in this role, and most of all he is believable. Arrogant, wicked and rather insane, gone are any of the traits that we usually associate with DiCaprio. Known more for his ‘nice guy’ and heroic roles, this villainous turn has given him a wider palette to play with, and fingers crossed this won’t be the last time he plays the bad guy.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
If anyone has any doubts over DiCaprio’s acting ability, I urge you to see this film straight away. It’s not the best film in the world but it is saved wholeheartedly by DiCaprio’s astounding performance. He plays Arnie Grape, a mentally challenged teenager and brother to Johnny Depp’s titicular character. By the end of the film, you will be asking “Johnny who?” DiCaprio steals every single scene in which he appears and his performance is intense, honest and at times extremely uncomfortable. Earning him his first Oscar Nomination, it is the performance that propelled DiCaprio’s career towards Hollywood and rightly so. It is by far one of the best performances of all time by a young actor.
Firstly, what a film. It’s one of my personal favourites, so of course I’m going to be slightly biased, but come on, what a film. Pretty much perfect in every way, I can only pick one or two things that I would see change. Sadly and rather surprisingly, one would be DiCaprio playing the lead role. I’m not suggesting he is terrible in the role of Dom Cobb, it’s just that I find him easily pushed into the background when around the other actors, and that shouldn’t be right. He is the big gun here (with the exception of Sir Michael Caine) and shouldn’t be pushed back by people such as Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon Levitt, but sadly he is. Ironically, he becomes the Johnny Depp of Inception. Of course, this is only my opinion and I’m fairly sure it won’t be shared by most, but I would have liked to see DiCaprio do something a bit different, maybe taken on another role. We’ve seen him play this intense, lead character a number of times by now (Shutter Island, The Departed, Catch Me if You Can to a certain extent) and to add another to the mix is unoriginal and frankly rather boring. Saying that, DiCaprio barely does step a foot wrong in this role, it’s really just not one of his best.
Here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that Leonardo DiCaprio has only ever won one major (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA) award? That was a Golden Globe for The Aviator back in 2004. Three times Oscar Nominated, he must be one of the unluckiest talented actors around today, because he really is extremely talented. Take a look back at his work: Shutter Island, Revolutionary Road, Blood Diamond, The Departed, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Beach, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, The Basketball Diaries… as far as I can tell, he hasn’t put a single foot wrong. He is easily one of the best actors of his generation, but the unfortunate thing is that in most of the films he’s starred in, it’s been someone else who taken all the praise. Think about it; Scorsese, Winslet, Nicolson, Hanks, Day-Lewis, he has been overshadowed by someone in pretty much every single one of his films. With The Great Gatsby mere days away, I have my fingers crossed that this is the film that gives DiCaprio the break he deserves. He is phenomenal at what he does and has rarely (if ever) given a bad performance. Please just give him an Oscar already. Or if not, please take more photos and make more memes of him doing this…