Leo fights bears, crosses frozen rivers, wins Oscar

After more than 20 years of clawing for an award, DiCaprio wins

It finally happened!  After more than 20 years of acting, Leonardo DiCaprio has finally received an Oscar.  He earned his long-awaited award for best actor in a leading role as Hugh Glass, in “The Revenant.”  DiCaprio portrays the life of the historical figure Hugh Glass, an American frontiersman from the nineteenth century who, in the course of the film, traveled more than 200 miles through the wilderness, running into many obstacles, including a fight with a grizzly bear.   

DiCaprio began his acting career in 1993 alongside Johnny Depp in the drama movie  “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”  His role, Arnie Grape, in the film led him to receive his first nomination for an Oscar.  Arnie Grape is a mentally handicapped boy whose older brother, Gilbert, must care for him and his mother after their father passed away.  Throughout Dicaprio’s career, he has frequently been nominated, but he has never actually won until “The Revenant.”  

DiCaprio’s lack of an Oscar has caused him to become quite famous on social media.  A recent, culturally-aware meme involves a picture of DiCaprio speaking on the phone next to an image of an Oscar.

The text below the image reads, “Hello, it’s me. I was wondering after all these years if you’d like to meet.”

Another recent one reads, “Steve Harvey should host the Oscars so Leo can finally win one.”

For those who do not know, Steve Harvey was the announcer for the Miss Universe Pageant.  He has recently become famous on social media for incorrectly announcing the runner-up as the winner.  

After DiCaprio’s nomination for an Oscar for his role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” one such meme co-opted a scene from the movie. The meme involves two images of Matthew McConaughey and DiCaprio’s lunch conversation from the film.

In the first image, McConaughey tells DiCaprio, “Don’t worry, Leo, you’ll get one next time.” In the second, DiCaprio looks as if he were trying not to cry.

Now that DiCaprio has finally won an Oscar, the joke has lost its effect.  And it is about time, isn’t it?  There are five movies before “Revenant” for which he should have taken home an Oscar.  First and foremost is James Cameron’s “Titanic,” in which DiCaprio co-starred as Jack Dawson, the handsome vagabond who could make a wealthy woman cheat on her wealthier fiance.  Women across the nation wanted to be Rose, his paramour.  DiCaprio sold us on a character who put his love interest first from the moment he met her until he died for her.

In 2010, DiCaprio starred in two phenomenal psychological thrillers, “Inception” and “Shutter Island.”  I believe that his acting in both of these films deserved an Oscar because he played incredibly challenging characters. Both of these films were notable for their ambiguous endings, which remained potentially distorted through the perception of DiCaprio’s characters’ psyches. In “Shutter Island,” DiCaprio had to act as a sane man when he was actually insane; in “Inception,” he acted as a sane man who was able to sleep in order to alter reality in insane ways.  

“The Great Gatsby” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” were both released in 2013.  DiCaprio depicted complex roles in both films. However, the most challenging scene he has ever acted may possibly be the iconic scene in which DiCaprio attempts to enter a car while under the influence of drugs in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  That scene alone should have nailed him an Oscar, but he did not win that nomination either.

It is great to see that a phenomenal actor, who can play a wide range of characters, has finally been awarded for his skill, despite that fact that he should have taken one home 20 years ago after “Titanic.”