In Defense Of Leonardo DiCaprio Not Winning An Oscar This Year

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street 2013 screenshotHello. Hi there. You and I don’t know each other, but I don’t think Leonardo DiCaprio should win an Oscar this year, and I’m about to tell you why.

Leo is nominated for Best Actor for his work in The Wolf Of Wall Street, in which he portrays real-life criminal Jordan Belfort, who defrauded thousands of investors in the 1990s. Is he good in the movie? Yeah, absolutely. Is he even great? I’d say so, yeah. I enjoyed my profanity-filled time with him. I just don’t think it was a performance worthy of an Oscar nomination, much less a win.

Maybe in another season, when the field was less stacked, I’d be more on board with us handing out nominations to Leo just because he hasn’t had a win yet. But in a year with such talent, I can’t understand why actors like Tom HanksIdris ElbaMichael B. Jordan, and Robert Redford would have been snubbed in favor of one of Leo’s lesser performances.

And yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking right now: “Who knows snubbing better than Leo?” Well Martin Scorsese for one, but I see your point. The fact is, Leo hasn’t actually been snubbed all that much — I’d say just once.

If you actually look at the field in years that he was nominated but passed over, it was arguably for good reason. When he was up for his role in The Aviator in 2005, he lost out to Jamie Foxx in RayTwo years later, in 2007, his role in Blood Diamond got him nominated, but wasn’t enough to pull out a win over Forest Whitaker‘s portrayal of despot Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland. Makes sense to me.

Were there years before that in which he maybe should have been nominated? Yeah, maybe for The Departed and Revolutionary Roadtwo Golden Globe-nominated performances that were particularly impressive in my own (humble) opinion. But the only time I think he absolutely was robbed of an Academy award was with his first nomination, for the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. (He lost that award to Tommy Lee Jones, for The Fugitive.) That’s the one time I feel comfortable stating that he definitely should have won and didn’t, and after he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for Titanic in 1998, I feel like we’ve just been coasting from there.

We can’t believe that even though his first Oscar nomination came twenty years ago and his most iconic performance came a mere four year after that, that this guy still doesn’t have that most-coveted piece of statuary yet — The Academy Award. And because of that, we keep throwing him into the ring in years we feel like he might have a solid shot. Or a decent shot. Or just…a shot at all. There are always front-runners and favorites, but the Academy is an impressionable group, and if you offer them the same choice enough years in a row, statistics suggest that at some point they’re going to pick it just to say they did.

And that’s what makes me nervous. As we all know, the Academy does have this perplexing little habit of occasionally giving away an award based on a career versus the actual performance at hand. I mean are you really gonna tell me that The Reader was Kate Winslet‘s best movie ever? That if you want to catch the cream-of-the-crop of Meryl Streep performances, you should invest 105 minutes in The Iron Lady? We’ve set a dangerous precedent for giving an award based on the past, just in case that person’s best performances are already behind them.

But I don’t think that way about Leo. He’s already been in the business for decades, demonstrated an immense variety in his creative output, and fostered relationships with some of the most talented people in the business. After years of work and careful nurturing of his own innate talent, Leo long ago reached a point of self-sufficiency in his career. He gets to do exactly what he wants with exactly who he wants, and only that. I want to see the kinds of projects and roles that Leo selects for himself going forward, and part of that means not rewarding him with an Oscar for work that isn’t Oscar-worthy.

He can do better, we’ve seen him do better. It would be like rewarding Scorsese with an Oscar nomination for The King Of Comedy just because he’d already made Raging Bull and Taxi DriverNot only would it have undermined the quality of the award, but it would have cast aspersions on Scorsese’s work itself, as if he wasn’t capable of doing good work again solely because he hadn’t been rewarded for it in a really specific way.

I didn’t feel that way about Scorsese, and I don’t feel it now about Leo. I think his best work is ahead of him, and even if it isn’t, I have too much respect for Leo and the performers he’s up against to hope he triumphs here just because we feel bad that he hasn’t so far.

I guess what I’m saying is — the kid can wait. And I really hope he does.

(Photo: Mary Cybulski – © 2013 Paramount Pictures)

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    • Ilaria

      I actually agree with what you are saying re: Leo but I can’t help myself: it’s Scorsese, not Scorcese. i know this sounds rude and I hate when people correct other people, but as an Italian, it always irrationally annoys me when people misspell Italian names. Sorry!

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        No no, I appreciate it! Thanks! Not rude at all, and I’m fixing now.

    • Kathy

      One of these days Leo will stand at the podium with his Best Actor Oscar in his hands, and he’ll be sure to NOT thank you! But I agree that all the crazy politics involved with the Academy Awards – it’s just getting crazier every year! Leo should have won 4 or 5 by now, you know?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Don’t misunderstand me, I think he’s great! But which movies do you think he should’ve won for?

      • Kathy

        Alexis, every year it’s different contenders and different politics. But just considering Leo’s performances alone, he should have won for The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Shutter island, Inception, and J. Edgar (even though I didn’t like the movie I loved him). Also he was great in Django Unchained but he wasn’t the lead actor in that movie.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Not Great Gatsby?

    • CJaY

      As much as I love Leo, and think he’s great, I kinda never want him to win an oscar so that the hilarious memes keep on coming.

    • elle

      Yeah best actor race is tough this year. A lot of talent. I really didn’t want to see WOWS but my husband dragged me and Leo was very good but I just don’t think he lives up to Matthew McConaughey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, or my dark horse vote Bruce Dern, but I think MM will win which I definitely wouldn’t object to. I really wish Robert Redford got a nod-All is Lost was beautiful.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I loved All Is Lost. Really impressive. Definitely thought it would be up for more — Director, for sure. And did you see Fruitvale or Mandela? Mandela was effing devastating, I can’t believe Idris Elba didn’t get a nomination.

      • elle

        I am your Fruitvale soul sister. I hate that it only got noms at NAACP Image awards and the Indie Spirit Awards. It deserved so much more. I didn’t see Mandela, but I actually heard mixed reviews from people who did, but I do love Idris Elba.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        That’s right! AGH! I forgot we already bonded over Fruitvale.

        That’s interesting about the mixed reviews. I’m the only person I know who saw it, so I might have been blinded by that fact and just trying to get butts in seats. We may never know.

        But regardless, Idris can get it.

      • elle

        Haha I don’t expect you to remember you get a lot of comments! I’m def planning on picking Mandela up at redbox though.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Please tell me what you think!!

    • Clever Girl Reviews

      I think that two others deserve it more. It’s a really deep category this year!

    • Daphne

      Di Caprio is still young.
      Given the time he will eventually win the Oscar.
      Besides has been nominated three times for Academy Awards, but he has not yet won any of them.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Actually he’s been nominated five times.

      • Daphne

        Aw sorry, just corrected it.

    • Cassandra Hough

      Totally agree. Is it twisted that I developed a crush on him after Gilbert Grape? I was nine years old and he was my first official talent crush. Definitely deserved to win for that movie. I knew it in fourth grade and I know it now, damn it! *shakes fist*

      • Alexis Rhiannon


    • lisa runnels

      this year, the UGLY——–(1) senile (2) loosing 40 lbs. (3) wearing a knit suit and hair piece (4) hanging by a rope (5) wall street sleaze ball drug addict—–?????——-who was the ugliest ?——-and, the winner goes to : I don’t know,they were all pretty ugly—-lol—but, leo was the most handsome ,ugly——lol——BUT ,THE HOLLYWONKA’S WILL PICK THE BEST UGLY WINNER——-lol

      • Kimberly Clark


      • Alexis Rhiannon

        My goodness!

    • Kimberly Clark

      I’m rooting for him. Go Leo!

    • Porkchop

      I personally want Ejiofor to win, but if I had to pick between Leo and McConoughey, I pick Leo because he would give a less douchey acceptance speech.

      Also, I don’t care if Leonardo DiCaprio never wins an Oscar. He is Martin Scorsese’s favorite person! 99% of all actors would cheerfully commit murder to get 1% of the attention Scorsese gives to him. When he does get an Oscar, I’m sure he’ll be really gracious about it, but inside he’ll be like, “Yeah, sure, throw it on the pile of my awesomeness.”

    • Ria

      Maybe he’ll end up like Cary Grant and get one of those “Honorary Oscars” when he’s really old.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Yeah, maybe so! I wouldn’t be too mad at that.

    • Doon

      Seems to me, what you are saying is this: you don’t think DiCaprio should win because his performance isn’t Oscar-worthy in your opinion. Um, okay. Long article.

    • Corey

      This just in… Leo was snubbed again lol – let the memes begin!! I hope this drives him to continued success by picking even more extreme and challenging roles. I think I’m the only Leo fan who wants him to stay humble and not get comfortable – which I believe would have happened if he won the Oscar this year.

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