More Than Just a 10 Pound Statue

More Than Just a 10 Pound Statue

Why Leo DiCaprio doesn’t need an Oscar

By Iris Lee | VTV Editor & Columnist

        Every February, in between studying and mouthfuls of dinner, we laugh and sigh over the results of the year’s greatest films, actors, and actresses—as deemed by some mysterious Academy. In fact, it’s become somewhat of a strange, controlled ritual that has taken over the media landscape and deemed this little gold statue, the Oscar, one of the most iconic awards of the entertainment industry.  While the awards are usually well-deserved, there are always oversights—Alfred Hitchcock, Tom Cruise, and, for the last four years, Leo DiCaprio. You, me, and the Internet…we all know what I’m talking about. For some reason, the little gold trophy has proven elusive to DiCaprio, and everyone is still in an outrage over it (including me).

But honestly, why do we let this dazzling, highly-esteemed routine of “announcement, applause, and thank you speech” dictate victory? While Leo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar, he definitely does not need one to define his success. His skill and cinematography speaks volumes, and yet, the majority tends to overlook it by exaggerating the impact, or lack of, the Oscar.

        DiCaprio is definitely a rarity among today’s movie stars—elusive, yet immersive; he treats every film he participates in as a chance to grow and learn about the universe and himself. From smaller films like 1993’s This Boy’s Life to larger-scale productions like 2006’s The Departed and 2010’s Inception, the audience has seen DiCaprio transform from an uncertain, wavering boy to a masterful, mysterious man. He is a paradox, melting into his characters while clearly remaining close to his roots: he is the romantic Jack Dawson from Titanic, psychotic Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island, millionaire criminal Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street, and the audience still recognizes him as the artist, Leo DiCaprio.

        His soulful skill parallels that of highly regarded actors Al Pacino, James Dean, and Robert De Niro, and this type of actor is extremely rare these days. It’s not often you see actors quietly culminate awe-inspiring, interior performances, exemplifying the darkness in transparent characters and transcending layered insecurities and yearnings through speech, tone, and expression. He is so opposite of the stereotypical Hollywood “pretty boy actor” that he brings hope to this industry, taking on complex, humanistic roles and bringing individuals to life. Yet, despite his talent, the majority of the public chooses to overlook his commanding presence and undeniable skill in lieu of something as materialistic as a metal statue of a bald man.

Perhaps it is the fact that we’ve come to revere the Oscars as the higher law of the film industry. By labeling DiCaprio as the one who “never gets an Oscar,” we are somewhat belittling his achievements and disrespecting such a dynamic explorer of emotion; even though Internet memes citing DiCaprio’s frustration can be amusing, we must also be careful not to let it out of hand and allow such comments to overshadow one’s career.

        Tinted with melodrama, bittersweet, frustration, and regret, DiCaprio’s journey has already driven him to a point of no worry; he has accomplished a legacy that will remain with humanity far more significant than the five minutes on the televised stage with the statue. The Oscar is only a tangible and subjective honor, and the lack of it should barely affect one’s career—such unfortunate events should fade into oblivion as an extinguished flame, a dark star collapsing in the distance, and allow one to continue on his artistic journey.