Legendary Actors: Leonardo Dicaprio

Introduction by @TrueGodImmortal
-Well, I'm sure you all know by now. After various nominations, Leonardo Dicaprio has finally won an Oscar for Best Actor. This long process for Leo has taken him over 20 plus years of acting and countless amazing roles. His role in The Revenant would earn him his award, but what about the rest of his illustrious career? Today, the team gathers to talk his movie roles, career, and the big victory.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s one of the best actors in the industry. Period. What I enjoy most about him is his ability to stretch his talents. He’s not confined to just one role. Even though he got an early start in television sitcoms and commercials, we got to see him at his best on film. If you consider his track record, I’m amazed he’s just now receiving his first Oscar. I was sold on Leo first in Romeo & Juliet. Not only was he eye candy material, but he actually became the character. DiCaprio was perfect for the modernized Romeo and he played it well.

I know What’s Eating Gilbert Grape came first, but I didn’t see it until later. Leo played the younger, mentally handicapped brother of Johnny Depp. That’s one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen, but it opened so many doors for DiCaprio. This man got my heart playing Jack Dawson in Titanic. We all know what happened to the ship, but seeing a love story emerge out of that mess was refreshing for me. Jack was a poor young man who fell in love with a rich young woman on an extensive cruise. I’m sure neither of them expected to connect, but the way they came together was absolutely amazing.

DiCaprio saw more success after playing two roles in The Man in the Iron Mask. In 2000, he also starred in The Beach. Both of those movies were hits at the box office, but he received not so friendly criticism. Leo turned things around in Catch Me If You Can. His character was a fraud that scammed his way through life based off his charm. With movies under his belt like Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed, Leo is undoubtedly one of the most talented actors of our time.

Leo again stretched his wings when he starred in a biopic called J. Edgar. For those who weren’t familiar with the story of J. Edgar Hoover, DiCaprio went into the role head first. Although lengthy, it gave us a better glimpse at who Hoover was as a person, not just the FBI director. Just when I thought he couldn’t outdo himself, he shows up as a slave owner in Django. That performance was absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen him in that light and he was a joy as the villain.

Leo switched gears again in The Great Gatsby. The mysterious gentleman had everything he wanted in the whole world except true love. The movie was another modernized adaptation that received mixed reviews. One thing that was for sure was DiCaprio’s acting abilities. To portray such emotion from movie to movie takes a gift that not many possess. We all held our breath as we waited to hear his named called at the Academy Awards. Finally, Leo walked away with the Oscar for best actor in his latest role for The Revenant. I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be acting, but I’m hoping we’re seeing Leo in his prime.

Let me keep it simple for you all.

Finally, Leo won his Oscar. Everyone can shut the fuck up about how he should've won it for Shutter Island (No. He shouldn't have, even though that was a great performance) or The Departed. Yeah, it still feels like a "whoops, sorry" Oscar, kind of like how Denzel won for Training Day. But, he, at least, won it. When's Marlon gonna get his Oscar? What about Lyfe Jennings and an Emmy for his work on that TV One sitcom with Omari Hardwick and LeToya Luckett?


Truth-filled sarcasm aside, the Academy Awards have fucked up a lot recently. From the exclusion of just about everything with minorities in major roles to Leo FINALLY winning years after he should've the first time around, there's gotta be a change. Am I comparing Leo's snubs to the lack of love for Straight Outta Compton? No. That's an entirely different clusterfuck. So, without getting too "out there," I'll say this.

At least he didn't have to dress in Blackface to win it. Congrats as you did deserve it.

I’m going to take you guys back to 1992. Some of you might remember the show “Growing Pains”, it was one of my most favorite shows at the time and that was only because of “Luke” who was played by Leonardo Dicaprio. He was 18 years old and the majority of his time in front of the screen had only been on sitcoms. Needless to say, I was a fan and kept up with him throughout his career. He's also a producer, a writer and an outspoken environmental advocate (think: the 11th hour documentary), the man is fantastic, but let's take a closer look at his acting career.

It comes as no surprise that Leo has worked with some of the best and most reputable directors in Hollywood. James Cameron, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, and my two favorites Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. That alone should be an indication of the talent that can be expected. Having 27 casted roles, his filmography is vast and his character range is impressive. Leo is the type of actor who continuously takes the most difficult and challenging roles, ones that are outside of his "typical" look or what you would typically expect him to do well in and with that he truly perfects each and every character.

The first Dicaprio movie I saw was “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” just one year after his run on "Growing Pains", and Leo proved to be a solid actor. He executed the role of Arnie Grape, a mentally challenged boy quite well. In fact, it earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars and THIS is where a series of nominations would start and Leo would be on the radar of legendary directors.

Let's fast forward about 11 movies, skip "Romeo & Juliet" and "Titanic" (even though I love both) and let's focus on 2002, with "Gangs of New York", as this would be the first time DiCaprio and Scorsese would meet and ultimately become great friends. This movie is in true Scorsese form, with the incorporation of a believable plot, perfect character development and enough action, killing and drama to keep us following along. Leo was a fantastic choice for this movie, as someone with his looks and previous character portrayals, was at risk of being type-casted as a "teen love sick romantic" guy that could only execute those roles, and he needed this (serious) opportunity. I think Scorsese was perfect to help him develop this ability. That same year, he was the lead in "Catch Me If You Can" and managed to be a very believable con artist. Again, both were done at a critical point in his career and both roles were necessary to showcase his range and ability which he was successful at doing.

Up until his 2002 projects, he acted as a mentally challenged boy, the most iconic character in the most iconic love story, a free spirited guy who found himself on a majestic ship, a cruel King, a person who avenges the death of his father in New York, a con artist and he did each one in such a way that he blurred the lines of acting and real life. He pours his heart and soul into each role so it's no wonder from 2004 (The Aviator) onwards he became a director's favorite. He stepped his game up and took on more difficult projects. He continued to earn a few more nominations at the Oscars, but would go on to have 156 total nominations and 45 wins throughout various other award shows. I think it's safe to say that the continued let down of not winning at the Oscars would be the driving force of motivation each year.

2004-2015 would be where the fans would see movie after movie with Leo as the lead or supporting, like "The Aviator", "Revolutionary Road", "The Departed", "Blood Diamond", "Inception", "Shutter Island", "Django Unchained", "The Wolf of Wall Street" and of course "The Revenant" to name a few. We saw his growth, development, complexity, versatility, range and most importantly heart. He became each character, he made each one believable and cemented himself on top actor lists everywhere.

I think it's undeniable that during his many years in film, Leo took on some controversial roles, some very disturbing ones and even that of a political figure. He's worked with the toughest and best directors, those who don't leave any room for mistakes, they demand excellence in every word, tone, facial expression and gesture and each and every time Leo excelled. After being cast in 28 full features, he had a huge portfolio and a hefty catalogue under his belt, so it was shocking that year after year, Oscar nomination after nomination, what he worked the hardest for wouldn't manifest itself.

February 28th 2016 is where that changed, as it would prove to be the most significant night, when FINALLY Leonardo DiCaprio was recognized for his work by winning an Academy Award. This took the entire world by storm, social media platforms blew up and people went crazy with good reason. It was very well deserved and LONG overdue, but regardless he's finally ranked alongside the legends who have also shared this feat.

Outro by @TrueGodImmortal
-While I've been a fan of Leonardo for some years myself, my three personal favorite roles of his were as Jim Carroll in the Basketball Diaries, Amsterdam in Gangs of New York, and my honest personal favorite role as Dominic Cobb in Inception. He's had countless roles that he excelled in, but those three stick out to me the most. His performance in Shutter Island was also amazing, and while I can't say he deserved the Oscar that year personally, I do think he had arguably the best performance of his career as an actor then. His win for The Revenant reeks of an award to make up for not giving him one sooner and though his performance was great, I'm not so sure he had the best of the year. Regardless, seeing Leo win was a big moment for film and fans in general as Leo has always tested his limits as an actor with daring roles and out of the box performances. He remains true to the craft if you will of being an actor and no his Oscar win was certainly overdue. Congratulations Leonardo!



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