Will this be Leonardo DiCaprio's year to finally win an Oscar?
Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the 88th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (Jordan Strauss / Invision)
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 7:54AM EST
With the Oscars fast approaching, speculation is ramping up on whether this will be the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Academy Award.
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DiCaprio, who has previously been nominated for an acting Oscar four times, and once for producing, is nominated this year for his lead role in the dramatic revenge saga, "The Revenant."
The nomination has caused excitement among DiCaprio's fans, many of whom believe that the award is long overdue. In the lead-up to the big show, the hashtags #UnitedforLeo, #OscarforLeo and #JesuisLeo were circulating on social media to help promote an Irish event, where fans could come together and celebrate, should the actor win.
One gaming company even created an online video game where players help DiCaprio physically grab the Oscar, by helping him navigate the red carpet, dodge photographers and leap over obstacles.
But, as DiCaprio has already picked up several awards for his performance as legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, he appears to be narrowing in on the golden statute.
If the 41-year-old actor wins on Feb. 28, it will be well-deserved, says Canada AM film critic Richard Crouse.
"All the other times (he was nominated) were for worthy roles, but he narrowly missed each time," Crouse told CTVNews.ca.
DiCaprio has been up for the best actor Oscar for his roles in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "The Aviator," "Blood Diamond," and "The Wolf on Wall Street."
But things appear to be lining up for DiCaprio this year, Crouse says, as his role in "The Revenant" is typical of the kinds of roles that the Academy tends to favour.
In the film, DiCaprio's character makes it his mission to find the man who killed his son. However, due to injuries stemming from a brutal bear attack and an attempt on his life, he's unable to speak for large parts of the film. As a result, for long portions of the roughly two-hour movie, DiCaprio uses only body language and facial expressions.
"It is daring, it takes risks, it is a performance that is largely non-verbal… the performance is really happening on his face and in his eyes," Crouse said. "It's the kind of bravura performance that I think the academy will be drawn to."
Crouse added that, if DiCaprio wins, it won't be a sort-of "consolation" prize to make up for previous times when he lost out, despite receiving critical acclaim.
The fact that DiCaprio has not yet won an Oscar continues to stupefy movie fans and critics alike. It has also sparked online debate and rumours over why the Academy appears to have consistently snubbed the star.
Some fans claim that the Academy is purposely keeping DiCaprio from winning for a variety of reasons, including: he’s too young; he got his first big break on TV rather than in film; and he takes on roles that are purposely baiting the Academy. Some have even suggested that the star’s problem is that he is simply too good looking, and suffers from “pretty boy syndrome.”
Crouse dismisses the notion that there's any sort of conspiracy among the Academy members against DiCaprio.
"It makes for a great story – the idea that the Oscars have a grudge against Leonardo DiCaprio," he said. "But he's been nominated four times (before), that's quite a lot of nominations."
He also noted that there are roughly 6,000 members of the Academy eligible to vote for Oscar winners, meaning it would take a considerable amount of time and effort to convince those voters to somehow collectively punish DiCaprio.
"Think about if you've ever been out to dinner with more than six people and you're trying to decide on what appetizers to order, and it's virtually impossible to get everyone on the same page," he said.
Likewise, it would be difficult to get the thousands of voting Academy members to launch some sort of negative campaign against a highly successful actor like DiCaprio, Crouse said.
He also noted that "The Revenant" is winning awards in several different categories – not just for its acting -- which means the film and its star have a clear shot at winning Oscar gold on the big night.
"I do think DiCaprio is the clear frontrunner," Crouse said. "He's the 'Donald Trump' of the nominees this year."