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4-min read

Happy Birthday Leonardo DiCaprio: 7 of His Performances We Think Deserved an Oscar

On Leonardo DiCaprio's 45th birthday, here are some underrated performances from the actor, for which we would have definitely given him an Oscar if we could!

Antara Kashyap | News18.com

Updated:November 11, 2019, 12:55 PM IST
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Happy Birthday Leonardo DiCaprio: 7 of His Performances We Think Deserved an Oscar
Leonardo DiCaprio. (Image: Instagram)

When Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar for The Revenant, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief because not only did he deserve the accolade for his performance in that films, but it was a long overdue recognition that the actor had proved he is worthy of. DiCaprio, who turns 45 on Monday, November 11, 2019 has been nominated for an Oscar six times, including Best Actor for The Wolf of the Wall Street, Blood Diamond, Aviator and Best Supporting Actor for What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

While the respective juries at the awards definitely know the best, we can't help but feel the actor deserved to win more of those trophies till 2016, a subject which also became the source of many jokes and memes online. On the occasion of the actor's 45th birthday, here are some of Leo's best performances for which we would totally have given him an Oscar if it were up to us. Because as little Julia Butters in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells Leo, "that was the best acting I have ever seen in my life."

What's Eating Gilbert Grape: We know the actor received an Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting role for this film, making him one of the youngest actors to do so. Johnny Depp might have been the face of the film, but it was Leo's performance his a developmentally disabled brother arnie that won our hearts. The actor was a teenager when he portrayed the challenging role. Yes, we would have definitely given him an Oscar back in 1993 if we could.

Gangs of New York: It is no secret that Leo is Martin Scorsese's muse of the generation, much like the director's collaboration with Robert De Niro, who is considered to be one of the best actors of all time. Leo's journey with Scorsese, that led to 31 Oscar nominations over five feature films, started with Gangs of New York.

Leo's portrayal of Amsterdam Vallon, a man fuelled by revenge, with hatred driving him forward in life – murderous rage and emotional outbursts included - became the beginning of a genre in itself, which we saw Leo play time and again brilliantly in the films. We also think it's unfair how the film was nominated for 10 Oscars and didn't win any. Hence, for Leo as Amsterdam, as well as his iconic hat, an honorary Oscar from us.

Catch Me If You Can: Leonardo DiCaprio, from very early on in his career, became the favourite of many great filmmakers. Apart from aforementioned Scorsese, he had already worked with James Cameron, Baz Luhrmann and Danny Boyle when he teamed up with Steven Spielberg in Catch Me If You Can. The actor plays the real-life con-man Frank Abagnale, who, before he turned 19, had duped people of millions of dollars.

Leo played the fast and charming character who eventually goes on a downward spiral as the walls close in on him, with a lot of conviction. When he is Frank Abagnale, his outbursts are not like and Amsterdam Vallon. The versatility of this actor, even when he plays characters caught in similar situations, is commendable.

Shutter Island: Another Scorsese collaboration, another honorary Oscar we wish we could have given Leo. The film keeps us on the edge of the seat till the last moment, but it is Leo as Teddy Daniels that makes the film so haunting. Daniels, who is so guilt-ridden for neglecting his wife's mental condition, never recovers from it, creating a reality-altering illusion to protect himself from the truth. Leo takes the audience members on the journey as well, and despite the hopelessness of it all, one finds themselves rooting for his character.

It is not easy for an actor to go to such a deep dark place as the film takes him and it is commendable how even after a decade since the film's release, Leo's performance is still unforgettable.

Inception: Christopher Nolan's 2010 film sees Leo acting in reverse from his character in Shutter Island, where he cocoons himself with the delusions to not see the reality. Whereas in Inception, his character Dominick Cobb faces the truth every time, with a stronger and stronger manifestation of his guilt.

While he's being all cool stealing dreams and creating fantasy like you've never seen before on screen, there is the wounded, guilt-ridden, downward spiralling version of Leo again. Inception can be a visual treat, not a very easy to digest film with a fantastic ensemble cast, (hello Nolan's favourite British guys Tom Hardy and Cilian Murphy), but it is at the end, a Leo show.

Django Unchained: Do we even need to say why he deserved an Oscar for this film? This actor kept soldiering on after slicing his hand open without breaking once, that's why. This is DiCaprio at his finest as the sadistic Calvin Candie who does not bat an eyelid before letting dogs eat a slave alive.

The cruel owner of Candyland actually lifts up the spirits of the film and we cannot thank Quentin Tarantino enough for that iconic super-zoom when he is first introduced. Leo even upstages Christopher Waltz and that's saying something because he and Tarantino make unforgettable characters and we still get nightmares from Colonel Hans Landa.

The Wolf of Wall Street: If we are talking about Leo's best performances, we cannot not talk about his most iconic The Wolf of Wall Street. The source of countless memes and celebrity announcements, (here's looking at you Tom Holland) Leo's Jordan Belfort is the quintessential greedy and cheating stockbroker who has an Icarus-like fate.

Also not to mention Mr Leonardo DiCaprio is hilarious and should do many more roles like this. This is another Scorsese collaboration and brings out the best in the actor and we think that something that iconic (yes, we used the word again) should have definitely been given a real Oscar.

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