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Leonardo DiCaprio has been sitting in the audience at the Academy Awards for years. He’s been nominated time and time again, but every year he's gone home without a prize. However, eventually, nearly all streaks come to an end. We knew that some day Leo would win, it was just only a question of when. Tonight Leo’s drought ended and he finally received an Oscar for his role in The Revenant.
As soon as it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio was going to work with the director of the Oscar-winning Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu, the buzz began. While it was never an entirely sure thing, it never is, the talk never really went away. Even among those who weren’t sure that DiCaprio’s role in The Revenant was really Oscar worthy, there seemed to be a pervasive feeling that this would be his year regardless. Nobody could question the amount of work that went into producing The Revenant. There was certainly a sense that the actor had worked hard enough, cumulatively, to take the trophy home.
Leonardo DiCaprio received his first Oscar nomination in 1993 for his supporting role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Following that, he received a string of Best Actor nominations for his roles in Blood Diamond, The Aviator, and The Wolf of Wall Street. He still could have won an Academy Award if Wall Street had won Best Picture, as he was a co-producer of the picture, but even that didn’t work out for him. DiCaprio was slowly entering Peter O’Toole territory. If he had lost tonight, you can bet that’s exactly the talk that would have begun.
Part of the reason that Leonardo DiCaprio emerged as an apparent frontrunner was because the field didn’t seem to have another obvious choice. While Matt Damon, Bryan Cranston, Michael Fassbender, and Eddie Redmayne all had solid performances, none of them seemed to win over everybody the way a single nominee often does. Whether you think DiCaprio truly deserved to be awarded the Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant or whether you think this was more of an award for his body of work, his talent cannot be questioned. Tonight the Academy finally paid tribute to that talent.
Do you think this was a deserved award for Leonardo DiCaprio, or was this more about paying dues? Let us know what you think in the comments below.