When the 2013 Oscar nominations were announced Thursday, a number of awards season favorites were snubbed. Among those left off the list was “Django Unchained” star Leonardo DiCaprio.
Many expected DiCaprio to earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of a vicious slaveowner, but he was passed over in favor of co-star Christoph Waltz, “Argo” star Alan Arkin, Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln,” Phillip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master” and “Silver Linings Playbook’s” Robert DeNiro.
The actor’s performance as the merciless planter Calvin Candie has earned him some of the best reviews of his career.
The 38-year-old DiCaprio earned the National Board of Review award for his performance in the Quentin Tarantino-directed revenge flick, which is set in the South just prior to the Civil War.
DiCaprio earned his first Oscar nod at the age of 19 for his performance as Johnny Depp’s mentally disabled brother in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” The actor didn’t receive his second nomination until over a decade later for his portrayal of Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s drama “The Aviator.” In 2006, he received his third nomination for his role as a Zimbabwean arms dealer in “Blood Diamond.”
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Since then, he has given acclaimed performances in films like Stephen Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” “Revolutionary Road,” directed by Sam Mendes, and Scorsese’s “The Departed.”
Many of these roles have earned the actor Screen Actor Guild and Golden Globe nominations but not the attention of the Academy.
Last year, his portrayal of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” was also snubbed.
In his list of 2013 Oscar “shockers,” Marlow Stern of the Daily Beast conceded, “In the last 10 years, no actor has been snubbed more by the Academy than Leonardo DiCaprio.”
“Having never played a villain before, DiCaprio relishes in the opportunity, spewing fire and brimstone,” Stern said of his performance in “Django.” “His phrenology speech delivered towards the end of the film—while wielding a hammer—got so intense that he accidentally split his hand open while giving it, and that’s the cut that was used in the film.”
Tariq Khan of Fox News listed DiCaprio failure to secure a nod one of the “biggest snubs.”
“He was also overlooked for his starring turn in ‘J. Edgar’ last year, so a payback nomination for his supporting turn in Quentin Tarantino's explosive film only seemed fair,” Kahn said. “Leo was famously snubbed for ‘Titanic’ and also for 2008's ‘Revolutionary Road.’ With his undeniable talent having been unchained for almost 20 years now, it's only fair that he be included in the awards.”
DiCaprio’s frequent snubs may seem inexplicable, but the Academy has a history of ignoring some of the most respected names in entertainment.
Let’s not forget that Johnny Depp has been overlooked on numerous occasions, or that Gary Oldman didn’t earn his first nomination until last year. And Scorsese was more than three decades into his career before his took home the coveted statue for “The Departed.”
Though the Academy has continuously disregarded DiCaprio, the top directors in Hollywood haven’t.
In addition to Tarantino, Scorsese, and Eastwood the star has worked with Christopher Nolan (“Inception”), Woody Allen (“Celebrity”), and Baz Luhrmann (“Romeo and Juliet”), among others.
Next year, DiCaprio will rejoin Luhrmann for the 3D adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” He’ll also star as famed entrepreneur Jordan Belfort in Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The film, which marks his fifth collaboration with Scorsese,” has already put him on the list of 2014 Oscar contenders.
DiCaprio shot to international stardom in 1997 starring as a doomed steerage class passenger in James Cameron’s “Titanic,” a role which also failed to earn him recognition by the Academy.