Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar at the 2016 Academy Awards and people on the Internet collectively lost their minds. It was nice to see him win, as DiCaprio should have won for his work in “The Aviator” back in 2005.
Seeing his victory brought me to a crossroads though. On one hand, I was happy to see him finally win, but at the same time I knew that the Oscar shouldn’t have gone to him because it wasn’t the best performance nominated.
DiCaprio’s performance in “The Revenant” was fine, and combined with all the hardships he went through when shooting, more than rightfully granted him a nomination. But it shouldn’t have mattered if he slept in an actual horse carcass or ate an actual buffalo liver. That, while impressive, shouldn’t have factored into the acting performance that DiCaprio delivered and instead voters should have only looked at DiCaprio’s mediocre performance.
DiCaprio also failed to be the best actor by being completely outshined with the performance supporting actor Tom Hardy delivered. Most will chalk up this DiCaprio victory to the rather “weak” competition he was facing. While it is true that the competition was “weak” and could have easily been stronger, there was a tour de force this year with Michael Fassbender.
When looking at Fassbender’s performance in “Steve Jobs,” it is impossible to think of a more perfect example of what pure acting is supposed to look like. There wasn’t one scene of the movie where Fassbender wasn’t the focal point. Everything from his body language to the way he changed his tone of voice was acted to near perfection, allowing him to control the movie.
His performance was also one of the most emotionally complex yet subtle performances ever, due to the constant adaptions he made depending on the character he spoke to and the situation around him.
Looking now at DiCaprio’s performance, there wasn’t much to be admired, besides all the hardships he went through on set. While DiCaprio’s character could have been
more than just a guy defying odds to get revenge, that is all he ended up being. DiCaprio added little to the initial character and portrayed him just as one dimensional and wooden as he seemed. DiCaprio did little to draw the audience into the story, and more importantly his character.
People were praising how DiCaprio was able to act so well with minimal dialogue and just by his body language and actions. While relying heavily on body language and actions can been done well, such as Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot”, DiCaprio instead overacted in these areas and gave an unconvincing and sometimes sigh inducing performance.
In no way should Michael Fassbender’s near perfect embodiment of Steve Jobs have lost. I don’t blame DiCaprio for winning or causing Fassbender to lose. That responsibility is the Academy’s, and the way I see it they failed at picking the most outstanding performance this year.
So congratulations, Leonardo DiCaprio, for the Oscar that shouldn’t be yours.