I am big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and am all in praise for all his rare skill of breathing life into the characters he plays. His versatility of characters and the unique gift of justifying every role makes him everyone’s favourite, including me. Though following his Golden Globe Win, DiCaprio is the front-runner to break his Oscar duck and may even land one; winning an Oscar for ‘The Revenant’ would be as much a tragedy as not winning one for so long.
Given that Leonardo’s masterful performances in Catch Me If You Can, The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Departed and so many other movies have left the masses spell-bound; to finally see him win it for The Revenant would be a travesty of sorts.
One of the best Critics across the globe, Matt Zoller Seitz nails the reason. He says,
“Acting is not an endurance test, though you wouldn’t know it from the yearly crop of Best Actor nominees. A win for Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant” would only ratify the tendency to see acting greatness in terms of transformation and misery. In this value system, viewer remarks along the lines of, “I barely recognized him” and “My god, look at how much weight he lost!” and “Was that really him falling off that cliff?” take the place of more nuanced evaluations of the actor’s art. Acting becomes a stoic’s routine, a form of monk-like self-flagellation to prove devotion to one’s craft. Lose that weight. Eat that flesh. Take the punch to the face.Are you man enough?
t’s the most extreme possible variant of the tendency to mistake Most Acting for Best Acting.”
The film deserves the world’s oyster for its technical prowess. The production values of this film are amazing. Everything of the film, be it acting, screenplay, cinematography is beyond praises. DiCaprio has yet again justified his role and his acting is beyond doubt, flawless. It’s a well executed film, and it will probably win some awards at the Oscars this evening. One of those awards, however, should not be Best Actor. Not because DiCaprio didn’t do well, that utterly is a false trail. But, because the role he enlivened is not an award-winning role. It isn’t very diverse or complex.
DiCaprio’s character, Hugh Glass, gets savaged by a bear in the beginning of the film, severely injuring and enfeebling him. There are open wounds and bites all over his body. His leg is busted up and he can’t walk for most of the time. His throat is torn and he can’t speak. Leo wades and swims in icy water, crawls across hard tundra while dragging an injured leg behind him, eats raw bison liver, sucks the marrow out of the vertebrae of an animal skeleton. He does everything and follows Darwin’s Survival Of The Fittest.
The first half is spent watching Glass limp through the vast terrain to get back to his people’s camp. En-route, he encounters myriad obstacles and somehow escapes all of them alive.
DiCaprio makes his viewers identify with his pain. We believe the man is on death’s door. Glass’ emotions hardly vary in the entire time span. He’s anguished. He’s enraged Sometimes he’s sad. But mostly he’s in pain. Moreover his classic hits have sets bars so high for Leo that one does not want him winning an Oscar for this movie.
He was magical in “Titanic,” for which he did not receive a nomination—boisterous and utterly charming. He is magic in more problematic roles as manipulative and deceptive alpha males, in “The Great Gatsby” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
“DiCaprio at his best is so good that you don’t catch him acting, or you don’t think of what he’s doing as acting, even though it is.”, says the critic.
Those were performances which mesmerised us, entertained us and were truly worthy of the award. Unfortunately, The Revenant act is just not in the same league. Despite what some feel, DiCaprio might win an Oscar after all. If so happens, I would console myself visualising him winning this not for ‘The Revenant’ but for all his magical performances before.
Or he might just have to wait a little more….
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