Leonardo DiCaprio finds himself without an Oscar nomination once again, a familiar occurrence reflecting the Academy’s intricate relationship with the star. Despite his portrayal of naiveté in “Killers of the Flower Moon” and memorable performances in films like “The Departed” and “Titanic,” DiCaprio’s omission isn’t surprising.
While DiCaprio is undeniably one of the world’s most renowned celebrities and already holds an Oscar for “The Revenant,” his journey with the Academy has been marked by a disconnect between awarded work and his broader body of accomplishments. This paradox hints at the Oscars’ struggle to fully embrace the breadth of DiCaprio’s talents, evident from “The Departed” to “Catch Me If You Can” and “Revolutionary Road,” which have gone un-nominated.
From his early nomination for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” to the international fixation sparked by “Titanic,” DiCaprio’s fame soared. However, the lack of recognition for “Titanic” and subsequent oversights in films like “Catch Me If You Can” and “Gangs of New York” fueled a narrative of DiCaprio striving for meaningful effort to catch Oscar’s eye.
“The Aviator” marked a turning point, portraying Howard Hughes’ descent into madness and earning DiCaprio a nomination. Yet, the Oscars seemed to crave more than personal charm, pushing him to showcase agony and effort in subsequent roles. “The Departed” showcased his movie-star charisma, but nominations for films like “Blood Diamond” came only when DiCaprio overtly pursued them.
Despite standout performances in “Revolutionary Road” and a transformative role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” DiCaprio’s Oscar journey remained elusive until “The Revenant,” aligning with a narrative of survival. The recent “Killers of the Flower Moon” sees DiCaprio fully immersed in a challenging character, raising questions about the Oscars’ reluctance to recognize his versatile skills.
DiCaprio’s lifestyle and influence in greenlighting ambitious projects like “Killers of the Flower Moon” make headlines. Having secured an Oscar, he may no longer need validation from the Academy. The Oscars, it seems, acknowledge that DiCaprio’s enduring impact transcends the need for additional trophies, emphasizing his lasting influence on the cinematic landscape.