Fresh off his Golden Globes win, Leonardo DiCaprio is poised to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work in The Revenant. Then again, we’ve been here before. In 1994, DiCaprio got his very first Oscar nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that he earned his second, for The Aviator. DiCaprio came close to winning a few years later, in 2007 when he was nominated for his most Oscar-bait role yet in Blood Diamond. Now, here we are, two Oscar nominations later, and it looks like fifth time’s the charm for DiCaprio. Seriously: Leonardo DiCaprio is winning an Oscar come Feb. 28th.
DiCaprio winning an Oscar this year is a sure thing — or, at least, as sure as a thing can be. The Revenant, a movie that is 75% DiCaprio grunting while battling the elements, picked up 12 Academy Award nominations, more than any other film this year. The film’s award buzz has only grown since its release, and with Golden Globe wins for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, DiCaprio and one for Best Picture, it seems inevitable that the movie will dominate come Oscar night. Putting The Revenant‘s incredible momentum aside, it’s also true that DiCaprio is just the obvious winner among his fellow nominees (sorry fellas). Let’s go through the list, shall we?
Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
There is absolutely no way Bryan Cranston will win the Oscar unless the Academy somehow thinks he didn’t win enough accolades for his work on Breaking Bad. Trumbo might have been nominated for a lot of awards this season, but the movie isn’t all that great (as evidenced by its complete lack of Oscar and Golden Globes love outside of Cranston’s nominations), and it just doesn’t make sense for him to win this one.
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Matt Damon might have a slightly better chance at pulling off an upset than his fellow nominees, but it still seems incredibly doubtful. For one thing, Damon already has an Oscar. Yes, it’s for Best Original Screenplay, but, hey, an Oscar is an Oscar. Second: he’s only been nominated as an actor twice before this. And, while he’s a good actor, Damon hasn’t had the same number of Oscar-worthy performances in his career as DiCaprio, so there isn’t the same general sense that he’s owed an Oscar at this point. Furthermore, The Martian was a fall blockbuster that was filmed in a studio. The Revenant was filmed in the wilderness in freezing temperatures and ungodly conditions. If there’s anything the Academy loves to recognize, it’s films that were impossible to make. Sorry, Matt Damon, we’ve run out of time.
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
I have to admit, I have not yet seen The Danish Girl, but I stand by my assumption that even the greatest performance from Redmayne could beat DiCaprio this year. He may be the only nominee to have already won an Oscar for acting, but that’s really more of a strike against him this year. Redmayne won last year for his performance in The Theory of Everything, and, if Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar track record is anything to go on, the Academy doesn’t like to give out awards to young actors two years in a row. Also, at 34, Redmayne just seems too young to win two Oscars, especially when DiCaprio still has zero. Giving two Oscars to such a fresh faced newcomer while DiCaprio sits on the sidelines is just cruel.
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Michael Fassbender is the only actor in the category that I could truly root for to win over DiCaprio, but I’m not sure I’d classify Fassbender as a real threat. Yes, his reputation has been rising in the Academy since he was snubbed for a Best Actor nod in 2012 for Shame. And, yes, he gave an incredible performance in Steve Jobs, but, let’s face it, Steve Jobs came out a while ago. The fact that it failed to get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin seems to indicate that the Academy is just not that enamored with the movie. Fassbender is an excellent actor, and I can’t honestly say that I’d be mad if he won over DiCaprio; however, like Matt Damon, he simply isn’t owed by the Academy, at least not yet.
Don’t worry, DiCaprio. It looks like your time has finally come.
Images: 20th Century Fox (2); Bleecker Street; Focus Features; Universal Pictures