The Revenant has made a clean sweep during awards season so far—but is it enough to get Leonardo DiCaprio the Oscar.
There have been many times over the years that he should’ve gone home with an Academy Award, but #PoorLeo (as the Internet has dubbed him) left empty-handed. Let’s look back on eight performances that were definitely Oscar-worthy.
Romeo + Juliet
Who doesn’t love Shakespeare? Well, Oscar voters in 1996 weren’t too keen on Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation. Leo, however, gave a show stopping performance with his ability to recite Shakespeare lines with the range of emotions that take him from lovesick teenager to tragic lover. It takes a certain kind of actor to perform Shakespeare and convey the depth of tragedy Romeo and Juliet carries, as seen with the infamous ending. Oh, Leo, don’t die!
Nominated for an Oscar for his role as Howard Hughes, Leonardo fully immerses himself into this role. In this scene, Leonardo portrays Hughes’ worsening OCD as he repeats himself over and over again. So close to the Oscar, but so far away.
In 2006, Leonardo starred in another Martin Scorsese film, The Departed. During 2006’s Oscar season, Leonardo was nominated for Best Actor for Blood Diamond but lost. He probably would have had a better shot at Oscar glory with this film because of Leonardo’s intense role as an undercover cop who goes into a dangerous gang. Even while acting alongside Hollywood history like Jack Nicholson, Leo can hold his own—a talent worthy of an Oscar alone!
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Ten years before his second Oscar nomination for The Aviator, Leo received his first Oscar nom for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. While this clip doesn’t focus on Leonardo’s role as Arnie Grape, Gilbert’s little brother, it does show how braveless and unleashed Leonardo is as an actor. Jumping and yelling at a funeral, Leo acts with bravery and honesty. His first time around with the Academy should have won him the Oscar.
Catch Me If You Can
In this fast-paced and humorous film, Leonardo portrays the real-life story of Frank Abagnale, a teenager turned con artist who goes from alias to alias, living different lives. While he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for this role, Leo should have won the gold because of his ability to become embody the different cons without losing the core character. In this clip, Frank is pretending to be a docto,r but when faced with a bloody injury, Leonardo reminds us that his character is still just a kid.
Taking a break from being the handsome hero, Leonardo plays his first villainous role as the epitome of evil plantation owner in Django Unchained. In what is truly an Oscar snub role, Leo shows off his range as an actor and his talent as he taps into an ugly evil in this role. Leonardo took his character to the max in this scene, even reportedly cutting his hand during the live take and resuming to act through the injury as blood poured down his hand. If that doesn’t get you an Oscar, who knows what will.
Titanic reunion! Leonardo and Kate Winslet reunite to play a less than perfect married couple whose marriage becomes something neither of them want. In a moment of tragic anger, Leonardo’s character attempts to hit his wife, a dark place for an actor to find himself in. While critics clamored over Kate’s role in this film, they missed the struggle and rage Leonardo conveys with his character, leading to yet another Oscar snub.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Teaming up with Martin Scorsese again, Leonardo gives a performance to a lifetime as he gives his ultimate all as wall street broker who crashes and burns after leading a rather destructive life. The film is full of moments of absurdity and pure insanity (as seen with the clip above), all of which show viewers the depth in which Mr. Leo is willing to go for a role. In a more recent Oscar snub, Leonardo famously put on his brave face at the award show, leaving us to wonder when and how will Poor Leo win his Oscar. Maybe a new dawn is approaching.