Alright, so this week I had a slew of topics ready to go for this entry of A Fistful of Thoughts, and only ONE of them had anything to do with #OscarsSoWhite (I edited) but then that got (got?) annoying and I didn't feel like talking about it anymore.
And then I saw The Revenant.
Yes, over the weekend I was blessed with the latest offering from torture porn enthusiast Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and I decided that I knew exactly what I was going to talk about today.
Well, not only Leonardo, but this whole concept of 'baiting Oscar' and the idea that just because he's finally getting his Oscar this year it's somehow some sort of a sin that he's not winning for a performance many deem as 'his best'. I've been reading tweets for months now debating Leo's inevitable Oscar win and the fact that it's considered some sort of makeup Oscar due to his being, you know, due for an Oscar, and I've been reading so many polls about 'Which Performance Leo Should Have Won For' and random tweets about how 'X performance was better than The Revenant' and after having seen the film...I...just...don't...get...it.
Sometimes I feel like we, as a collective community of people, can never be happy. The same people who bitched and moaned that Leo didn't have an Oscar are the same people who are bitching and moaning that he's winning for 'grunting and groaning' and 'suffering' and not for snorting cocaine off of some girl's ass. What's sad is that this kind of mentality completely dismisses what DiCaprio actually accomplished with this performance. It shrugs off his performance as a mere plea for Oscar, which is not what it was. To think that Leo has been baiting an Oscar for years is to completely rewrite his professional choices, since nothing about films like Shutter Island, Inception, The Great Gatsby, and when you think about it, The Wolf of Wall Street, scream Oscar winning role. In fact, despite the physical transformation he underwent, there isn't much about his performance in The Revenant that screams Oscar bait. Can you think of the last actor who won for a practically non-speaking performance in a brutally violent revenge Western? There isn't one. Could it just be that Leo wants to work with interesting directors on interesting projects?
And yet, we still complain.
And yet, we still complain.
I mean, I get it...we all want our favorite actors (or just actors in general) to win for their very best, but let's be logical here...that never happens. Well, it does happen, but this only happens in pretty much one instance:
When you aren't a great actor.
Think of an actor or actress who has won for their VERY BEST performance. Who is it? If you thought Mo'Nique in Precious, then I just made my point. Mediocre actors who blow our minds with a turn no one saw coming can seal the Oscar deal on that alone, and in that case they can genuinely say that they won for their very best, but that's pretty much the only way this happens. The thing is that great actors will never win for their best work because they are always good, and so their best is expected and subjective and so someone like Leonardo DiCaprio is never going to go back in time and win for something like The Wolf of Wall Street (the one that many seem to point to as 'his best') or for a film he was never nominated for, like Shutter Island (my personal favorite Leonardo performance) but I see no reason to begrudge his win this year for that reason.
And before you say "Robert De Niro won for Raging Bull" I'll correct you that Taxi Driver is his best performance.
I mean, this isn't some kind of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman mess either. This isn't like Leo is finally winning...for some performance that is beneath him (that would have been Blood Diamond). Leonardo DiCaprio is winning for a DAMN GOOD performance. In fact, of his five Oscar nominations, I'd only rank this performance below The Wolf of Wall Street, and not that much below to be honest. And when you think of the recent Best Actor winners, he's clearly ahead of Eddie Redmayne, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges, and I'd personally say he's better than Daniel Day-Lewis's mimicry Oscar.
Kate Winslet got this kind of flak when it was 'her time' and everyone was all "she's only winning because it's a Holocaust movie" and, sure, it was bait and it wasn't her 'best', but it was a brilliantly composed performance and it was deserving of an Oscar. Julianne Moore was also beautifully restrained and deserving for her turn in Still Alice, even if it was far from her more inventive and memorable work in the 90's. The greats are great because they are generally always great, and so when they finally get the chance to take home an Oscar, can't we just be happy that they're winning for, once again, being great?
And it's not like he's beating out someone who is considered to have delivered a performance far better than his. I'm all for awarding the very best, regardless of actor bias, but it's not like his fellow nominees are thought of to have exceeded Leonardo in any astronomical way. Michael Fassbender has his fans and his supporters for his performance in Steve Jobs, but I haven't heard anyone say he blows Leonardo away or anything. It's not like Leo is stealing someone's Oscar.
Like when Al Pacino stole Denzel Washington's.
So, yes, Leonardo DiCaprio nearly died while filming The Revenant, but gimmick aside, this performance is an astonishing work from one of our greats, and even if it isn't his best...I'm damn glad he's winning the Oscar for a performance he can be proud of.
But, enough of this...
But, enough of this...
Let's talk about you
Kevin talks Tarantino
Matt thinks about some un-nominated performances
Allie & Jenna list of their cinematic disappointments of last year
Britt tries to predict SAG
Alex gets up close and personal with this years acting noms
Sati talks the Smith's pain
Jay saw Star Wars
Ruth talks Darren McGavin
Keith has some random movie awards
Getter is obsessed with Outlander
Josh ranks the 'older' films he saw last year
Dan talks Reservoir Dogs