Oscars 2014: Was not giving Leonardo DiCaprio the Academy Award a mistake?

Sunday 2nd March marked the 86th Academy Awards, a night full of flawless celebrities, glamour and controversial winners. But that’s the academy awards, right? They’re always “rigged.” Even film magazines talk about the Academy having their favourite narratives and topics, and also subjects that they normally steer clear.

We all know the academy loves a biopic and films about the great US of A. They also love major advances in film technology and an elaborate transformation when an actor is really showing off their versatility. Fantasy films barely win Best Picture (The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King (2003) was special) and on that note, it’ll probably be a long time before a Mo-cap performance will ever be up for the Best Actor/Actress performance (commiserations, Andy Serkis).

Every year there is usually at least one winner or loser that everyone is in uproar about. This year, looking around at various social media sites, it is the Best Actor award that went to Matthew Mcconaughey for Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013). It seems that the general consensus is that the award should have gone to Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island, watching his chances of winning an Oscar in the rearview mirror.
© 2010 by Paramount Pictures.

This year I made a point to watch the majority of films that were likely to be nominated for a major Academy award. The only fictional live action films up for major awards that I didn’t end up catching were Nebraska (2013), August Osage County (2013) and Before Midnight (2013). I wanted to be able to give a good, educated opinion on whether or not the Best Actor award should have gone to our good friend, Leo. But that’s not exactly what I’m going to argue here.

From looking at various social media, the majority of people feel that Leo should have gotten the award because he is a consistently amazing actor who over his career has proved himself as one of this generations finest actors and should therefore win an Academy Award.

This is definitely a reasonable request. He is an amazing actor, right? I sure think so, he’s so good that when he played Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993) aged only 19, I thought he should have won an Oscar right from the word go.  If ANYONE deserves an Oscar, its him. He is up there with the cream of acting talent like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman-

But hold the phone! These actors haven’t won any Academy awards though, have they?!

That’s surely a mistake, right? With the exception of Tom Cruise (its a bit more believable that he hasn’t won one, sorry Tom!), these actors are all incredibly talented and deserve an Academy award, but they haven’t been given one! Therefore, they are doomed to fade into the background of B-list Hollywood actors, a mere blip in American film history. Just like that once famous English Hollywood director who was called the Master of Suspense or something, did really good thriller films, called something like, Archie, Albert-

ALFRED HITCHCOCK. Yeah, that’s who. Did he win any Best Director awards? Nope. Did he deserve one? Yah damn right he did. Is he any less respected for lack of golden naked man on his shelf? Hell no.

Leonardo DiCaprio sexing it up in Titanic after his Romeo stole the heart of every teenage girl
© 1997 – Paramount Pictures

The long winded point I’m trying to make is: Leo deserves an Oscar, but he doesn’t need one. Saying that he deserves an award just for all those other performances is undermining the fact that an actor can win an award without having any sort of starring film role before, like Lupita N’yongo. Does she deserve her award less because of lack of credits on IMDB? No, she doesn’t. Does Matthew Mcconaughey deserve his award any less because he was in a string of bad chick flicks? No, he definitely doesn’t. Because that’s how the award system works.

Awarding people awards for just being who they are will take us right back to 1969, where John Wayne famously won the Best Actor Oscar for True Grit (1969), a mediocre performance which cemented the fact that John Wayne won the award purely for being John Wayne and as a way of making up for the fact he did other good performances that didn’t win an Oscar. I don’t want that to start happening, and I’m sure you don’t too.

Hang in there, Leo, you’re pretty damn good, and Oscar or not, you’ll be remembered for your amazing performances just as Gene Kelly, Sean Connery, et al have done before you. However, if you have got your heart set on winning an Oscar, here are some handy tips that I think will give you the edge:

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Guide to Nabbing an Oscar:

  1. Stop doing the same gangster films with Scorsese. They’re amazing but no one’s impressed.
  2. Oh, you’re going to play a corrupt, flawed, power crazy man with secrets? J. Edgar Hoover, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Belfort… Yeah. We’re well aware you can pull that off without a hitch, prove you have versatility.
  3. Have a seriously bad patch in your career. Yeah it’s risky, but you can’t expect them to feel sorry for you and give you an award out of pity, if there’s nothing to pity.
  4. Get in the next Avatar movie. Fantasy films aren’t usually big Oscar winners, but you know it makes sense.
  5. Do a biopic. I know you’ve been doing this, but maybe do a BETTER one.

Want MORE?

Read my film viewing statistics for 2015, including cinema and home viewings.

If you want to fake it as a film buff and learn all the technical, smarty-pants terms, read this post.

See which films I was most excited for during 2016’s Oscar season.

Wanna read about that time I had a major audition for a feature film?

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Leonardo DiCaprio surely deserved an Oscar right from the word go in What's Eating Gillbert Grape, surely?!
© 1993 – Paramount Pictures


I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

2 thoughts on “Oscars 2014: Was not giving Leonardo DiCaprio the Academy Award a mistake?

  • 12/03/2014 at 2:06 pm

    Leo is a great actor and his performance in Wolf was phenomenal. He was just unlucky that he had to go against the behemoth McConaughey performance

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