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Why Leonardo DiCaprio should win an Academy Award

The eternal nominee might finally pick up his first Oscar for Iñárritu’s ‘The Revenant’


He is infallible as an actor; his conservation work fills the pages of newspapers, while at the same time hundreds of magazines are quick to publish photos of him and his latest girlfriend.

So why hasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar?

Even Google wants to know. Start typing “why hasn’t Leo…” into the search engine and it automatically gives you the option of completing the sentence to ask that question.

Even social news website Reddit has taken on the issue, but no one seems to have the right answer.

The last time he lost the hashtag #poorleo was used more than 12,000 times on Twitter within 24 hours

The last time he lost – in 2014 to Matthew McConaughey – the hashtag #poorleo was used more than 12,000 times on Twitter within 24 hours.

The 40-year-old actor has spent half his life trying to win an Academy Award, and now many are saying his time has come with his role in The Revenant, a western-thriller directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

The new film by the Mexican director – whose Birdman scooped four awards at this year’s Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director – focuses on the survival of a fur-trapper who is left for dead and abandoned somewhere in the Dakota mountains by his hunting companions.

As well as being one of the favorites for next year’s awards ceremony, the film is almost entirely carried by DiCaprio and in certain ways is centered on his brilliance. Both the director and actor undertook a filming odyssey in the snow-filled landscapes of Calgary, Canada, and will be hoping to be recognized for their efforts when the Oscar nominations are announced in mid-January.

The 40-year-old actor has spent half his life trying to win an Oscar and now many say his time has come

One of the biggest obstacles preventing Leo from obtaining the prized statuette could be the fact that everyone, including Academy voters, assumes that he will eventually win one day.

Years before he exploded on the screen in Titanic (1997), the young DiCaprio was considered an acting prodigy, capable of stealing scenes from Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life (1993). And there were only a few months between him completing that role and receiving his first Oscar nomination, as supporting actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993). He lost out to Tommy Lee Jones, who co-starred in that year’s The Fugitive.

DiCaprio’s two Golden Globe wins have not proved sufficient to pave the way for his first Oscar win, after nominations for The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2007) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2014).

But his luck might change. Here are the key factors that will decide whether the actor will finally stop being the eternal loser at next year’s ceremony.

Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Revenant.’
His nomination is practically guaranteed

In general, this year has been a slow one for potential Oscar contenders. There are no clear favorites, which could entice voters to make more surprising choices than they have on other occasions. In terms of the Best Actor category – in which DiCaprio would be included if he is nominated – the producers of one of the main contenders, journalist drama Spotlight, have decided not to favor either of the two main actors in the film, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, meaning both will compete with one another for a supporting actor nomination.

Another of this year’s favorites, Carol, is unlikely to pose any threat to Leo since it is a lesbian-themed drama taking place in the 1950s that stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, both of whom will be eligible in the Best Actress category

Eddie Redmayne, whose The Danish Girl is also a frontrunner, took home this year’s Best Actor award for The Theory of Everything and a back-to-back win is a rare occurence. Michael Caine is also said to be another favorite for Youth, but this is a European co-production, which gives it a slimmer chance.

Michael Fassbender and Johnny Depp, two other strong contenders

But DiCaprio could well be facing two other actors who have also not won Oscars and are almost as high profile as he is. Michael Fassbender, who plays the late Apple boss Steve Jobs in a biopic directed by Danny Boyle, is without a doubt his main Oscar opponent.

And following a few lost years of hiding behind make-up and reaping disappointing box-office returns, Johnny Depp gives a convincing performance as vicious, real-life gangster James Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. Just about everyone in Hollywood loves a comeback and who else would be better to receive his first Oscar than DiCaprio’s co-star in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Both these contenders could see the old #poorleo hashtag resurrected on the social networks come February.

The money is on his side

These days hardly anyone believes that the Oscars are solely about talent and achievement and have little to do with the lobbying behind each nomination. As in politics, if there’s no money to invest, walking away with a statuette can be difficult.

If you want to win, you have to have a good marketing campaign because, in the past, candidates in much smaller productions than those with which DiCaprio has competed have snatched the prize away from him after generating greater sympathy.

This happened in 2005 with Jamie Foxx (Ray), two years later with Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and then again in 2014 with Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). Again, with a budget of more than $100 million, 20th Century Fox’s The Revenant is a more ambitious production than either Jobs or Black Mass.

The only other best bet is Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, which poses no conflict to the Leonardo DiCaprio campaign.

Now the only thing that remains is to enjoy the trailer of the film that might just open the Oscar door to Leo.

English version by Martin Delfín.