Saturday, February 9, 2013

Celebrity Profile: Leo DiCaprio
                Nominees for the Academy Awards were announced on January tenth.  This past year, countless films have been released, many of them box-office hits.  It was a good year for films like Lincoln¸ Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and Argo-just to name a few were well-received by critics and audiences across the nation. 

                However, once more, Leonardo DiCaprio has been snubbed of a nomination from the Academy for his appearance in Django Unchained as the charismatic plantation owner, Calvin Candie. 

                Upon watching the announcement that cloudy Thursday morning, I began to question, does the Academy dislike Leo?  Has his talent and good-looks not met standards for the most highly regarded film award?  Acting in films for the past twenty years with a wide range of roles, DiCaprio proves himself multi-faceted.  He even has a hand in producing various films in the latter half of his career thus far with his company Appian Way Productions.  As far as I’m concerned, this recognition is long overdue. 

                To keep myself busy over break I read up on Leo DiCaprio and watched his films.  After compiling my finds, I find it unorthodox that someone so successful in his field hasn’t received any real recognition from the Academy.  Let’s take a look at his career. 

                The thirty-eight year old actor started acting from very young, doing TV commercials.  Eventually, DiCaprio landed a role on the ABC sitcom, Growing Pains.  His break-out role for the silver screen was the mentally handicapped brother of Johnny Depp in the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), which he received an Academy Award nomination  for best actor in a supporting role.  Among his roles in the early years of his acting, his most notable was as heartthrob vagabond Jack Dawson in James Cameron’s Titanic.  It was this film that put DiCaprio on the map and transformed him into an A-List movie star. 

                His most notable roles include that as Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can and Dom Cobb in Christopher Nolan’s Inception.  He has become one of the highest paid actors in the world.  Proving his versatility through his portrayal of these characters, one would imagine DiCaprio winning an Academy Award.  However, this is not the case. 

                In the past, DiCaprio has been nominated for only three Academy Awards for best supporting actor-What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, best actor-The Aviator and best Actor- Blood Diamond; he won none of these.  His Golden Globe record for the category “best actor in a drama film” is quite more impressive, nomination-wise. DiCaprio received nominations for Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Revolutionary Road,  J. Edgar, Django Unchained, The Aviator and Blood Diamond.  The last two he won the Golden Globes for.

 An improvement in comparison to what the Academy has given him, but he did not receive as much recognition as he deserved.  Personally, I didn’t think that his role in Blood Diamond was Oscar nomination worthy.  However, the Academy may have nominated him for that role because it wasn’t very good to begin with, and a win wouldn’t be guaranteed on Leo’s part.

                Leonardo DiCaprio has appeared in twenty-four films throughout his career thus far.  His roles have ranged from the dashing, romantic lead to the conflicted, disturbed detectives.  Six of these twenty four (one-fourth, to be exact) films have been nominated by the Academy for best motion picture.  More than half of these films have received nominations from the Academy in almost (if not, all) categories, and received many of the awards.  My point is, how can a film receive a nomination for best picture from the Academy, and its actors not receive awards as well, let alone nominations?

                What’s next for Leonardo DiCaprio?  This May is the release of Baz Lurhmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby where DiCaprio stars as the elusive Jay Gatsby.  Later in 2013, Wolf of Wall Street (which he produced and stars in) will be released, as DiCaprio portrays the daring Jordan Belfort.  With any luck, DiCaprio will receive award nominations next year for these films. 

Sadly for die-hard DiCaprio fanatics, within the last month, Leo has announced that he will be taking a break from acting. 

                His past three roles were very intense.  “I've just done three movies back-to-back, so I'm looking forward to getting back to my house,” he said in a recent interview.  DiCaprio now will get some much-needed “Leo time” as they were emotionally draining for the actor. “I take what I do very seriously.  When I'm on the set that's all I focus on,” he continued. “So my vice is to hang out with my friends, talk about absolutely nothing of importance and act like a complete idiot.”  After being on film sets for the past year and a half, he wants to unwind for a bit before getting back into his acting. 

                While getting some time to chill out, Leo will be getting a chance to work more on his environment work and philanthropy.  He owns an electric Tesla Roadster, a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, and a Toyota Prius.  He also will ride commercial planes instead of asking for his own private jet.  His activism has ranged from donating $1 million to Haiti after their 2010 earthquake to working with 24 orphaned children from the SOS Children's Village in Maputo, Mozambique, and was said to be extremely touched by his interactions with the children.  Charitable, successful, and good-looking? How could you not adore such a celebrity?

                Hopefully Leonardo DiCaprio has a strong comeback in acting once he decides to return to the silver screen.  A fruitful career up to this point like his cannot be ignored, and I anticipate will come back to doing what he loves. 

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