For a while now, the Internet sort of agrees on one thing: Leonardo DiCaprio really wants an Oscar.
But why? Leo is a wealthy bachelor who takes home 20 models at once, has been best friends with Tobey Maguire for over 25 years, and married off good friend Kate Winslet to her husband Ned Rocknroll. He seems to be doing pretty well without an Oscar!
Yet, the elusive Oscar trophy remains just slightly out of reach from him, and it’s fun for us regular folk to mock people who seem to have everything but the one thing they truly want. He can’t let go, he won’t let go. Like Hillary Clinton and the American presidency, Leo and his team are campaigning hard for his latest Oscar bait role, The Revenant, a prestige revenge western directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who won a Best Director Oscar for last year’s Best Picture winner, Birdman.
Early on, reports circulated that there is a scene where Leo gets raped by a bear, which has since been denied. However, in that same report, the writer notes that Leo also had to climb into a dead horse carcass, a claim that has been verified. Leo himself confirmed that he deliberately put himself into difficult situations for the sake of ART, like sleeping in animal carcasses:
“I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set.”
The saga continues, with reports that international superstar Leonardo DiCaprio opted to eat raw bison liver, when he could have eaten fake bison liver, also for the sake of ART:
While speaking to Variety, DiCaprio admits that the prop department did indeed build a faux bison liver from jelly—certainly a more edible alternative to the authentic organ. But DiCaprio, concerned that the fake did not look genuine, volunteered to eat an actual bison liver. In addition to the challenge of finding a real bison liver, however, production had to get permission to feed one of Hollywood’s most valuable movie stars a raw, potentially diseased animal organ by getting clearance from both his team of lawyers and agents.
Leo even shared one of his near-death experiences (i.e., if you don’t give him an Oscar now, he might die):
“A great white jumped into my cage when I was diving in South Africa. Half its body was in the cage, and it was snapping at me.”
Will Leo win an Oscar this year? Only time will tell! He’s certainly doing a lot for the sake of art, something the Oscar loves and respects. Keep in mind, though, Leo has pretty much tried every Oscar bait move on his journey to Oscar gold, and we’re not sure what else Leo has left in his arsenal in the next few months leading to the 2016 Oscars.
For the time being, we’ll provide you a brief history of Leo’s Oscar bait experiences, under the cut.
In 1993, Leo landed his first Oscar nomination playing a mentally impaired young man in What’s Eating Gilbert’s Grape?
In 1997, Leo starred in Titanic, an international box office hit that earned a billion dollars (more than that, actually), and got nominated for a billion Oscars (14 nominations, to be precise). Although co-star Kate Winslet received a nomination, Leo was notably absent from the “Best Actor” category.
In 2002, Leo worked with directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese on Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York, respectively. Leo was actually phenomenal in Catch Me If You Can, inhabiting a role that felt age-appropriate and range-appropriate.
However, Leo seemingly got attached to Scorsese instead, even though he was horribly miscast in the rather mediocre Gangs of New York. I’d like to note that Cameron Diaz was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work, and Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for an Oscar for his work.
But Leo? Leo was nominated for a “Awards Circuit Community” award for Best Ensemble, an award he would’ve had to share with the rest of the cast; a MTV Movie Award for “Best Kiss” that he would’ve had to share with Cameron Diaz; and a Teen Choice Award for “Choice Movie Liplock” that he would’ve also had to share with Cameron Diaz. What an injustice (but not really, because he wasn’t that great in Gangs of New York, anyway)!
In 2004, Leo landed his second Oscar nomination by playing Howard Hughes in Scorsese’s The Aviator, but mostly, he sort of got it because of a scene where Hughes was peeing into a bunch of cups.
In 2006, Leo starred in both The Departed, his third film with Scorsese, and Blood Diamond. The Departed had a strong ensemble cast, and earned Mark Wahlberg his first Oscar nomination, Scorsese his first and only (to date) Best Director Oscar, and a Best Picture Oscar. The Oscars likely saw Leo’s performance in The Departed as what it was: a piece of an ensemble, rather than Wahlberg’s scene-chewing antics. Providing the cherry on top, Oscars gave Leo a consolation Best Actor nod for his work in Blood Diamond, but that was it. That year, it was Forest Whitaker’s Oscar to lose.
Between 2007-2013, Leo was nominated for no Oscars. That doesn’t mean he stopped trying, though. Leo continued to seek out opportunities to work with the best directors and participate in prestige pictures.
In 2008, Leo starred in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies with Russell Crowe, who stole the show, so even if the film was on Oscar’s radar, it would’ve been Crowe, not Leo. Later that year, Leo starred in Revolutionary Road, a film in which he and Kate Winslet were supposed to be (and should’ve been) nominated for Oscars, but weren’t (though Winslet did win an Oscar that year for her performance in The Reader).
In 2010, Leo reunited with Scorsese for Shutter Island, a movie that was a mid-year release that didn’t impact Oscar season at all. Later that summer, Leo starred in Inception, one of the more imaginative, innovative films of recent years, which are usually compliments thrown at the filmmaker (in this case, Christopher Nolan), rather than the actors who function in said imaginative, innovative universe. However, Leo was quite good in Inception.
In 2011, Leo starred in J. Edgar, a Clint Eastwood film, that received lukewarm reviews. I suppose when you’re working with Director Clint Eastwood, you either get to star in an Unforgiven, or an Invictus, and J. Edgar was sadly the latter.
In 2012, Leo starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which initially looked like it was going to be a scene-stealing role for Leo that may get him an Oscar nomination at the very least, but turned into a scene-stealing role for Christoph Waltz, who ended up winning his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar in a Tarantino movie (his first was for his work in Inglorious Basterds) for his performance; Leo was not nominated.
In 2013, Leo starred in both Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (Leo had previously worked with Luhrmann in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet) and Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. The Great Gatsby had no chance in hell to be an actual Oscar contender in any of the major categories, but The Wolf of Wall Street had all the chances in the world, if it wasn’t so damn misconstrued and polarizing.
Leo was fantastic in The Wolf of Wall Street, as Scorsese finally tapped into Leo’s deceptive boyishness that Spielberg exploited in Catch Me If You Can, and bastardized and distorted it all he could. It seemed like Scorsese finally realized that Leo was never meant to pee in cups, or rage a street war against Daniel Day-Lewis, but was meant to use that boyish charm to effectively precipitate the pernicious defects of the American dream.
I suppose Leo had the best chance for a win for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, but he didn’t. That’s why The Revenant is what it is, and we’ll just have to wait for the Oscars season to play out. But at the very least, we know that the Oscars will be okay, we know that Leo will be okay, because Hitchcock was okay, Peter O’Toole was okay, and Amy Adams is and will be okay.