Looking back at DiCaprio’s snubbed roles


Nick Mayer, Staff Writer

Leonardo DiCaprio, one of this generation’s top actors, starred in many roles for movies of various genres and excelled in many of them. DiCaprio has won many awards, but until recently, he never won an Oscar. Although DiCaprio had many opportunities to win an Oscar, he lost them to other excellent actors–until the film “The Revenant.” Let’s take a look at the many award winning films that had award-worthy performances from DiCaprio yet no awards that followed.


“Titanic” is one of DiCaprio’s earliest well-known roles. Dicaprio was cast as Jack Dawson, a young artist who wins tickets to board the Titanic with his friend Fabrizio De Rossi. On the ship, Dawson sees a young woman named Rose Calvert and falls in love with her. DiCaprio was a key player in the success of the film, and his acting skills and the well-written script won eleven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and other awards for film and sound editing. Although DiCaprio was not nominated for an Oscar despite the immense success of “Titanic” it was deserved. The Academy instead gave it to to Jack Nicholson for his role in “As Good as It Gets.” DiCaprio was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but he ultimately did not win a Golden Globe Award.


The Departed

Martin Scorsese’s crime film stars Dicaprio in the role of Billy Costigan, a young undercover cop who was tasked with infiltrating the Irish mob. The film is a great piece of modern cinema and has an intriguing, twisty plot that is accompanied by a wonderful cast who play their parts convincingly, creating a sense of immersion for viewers. DiCaprio shows the stress and anxiety placed on an undercover agent while also giving viewers a look inside the mind of someone who is in that situation. The film was nominated for five Oscars and won four; however, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences snubbed DiCaprio once again from his deserved award that Forest Whitaker ultimately won for his performance in “The Last King of Scotland.”



“Inception” was Christopher Nolan’s first movie after the successful launch of his “Dark Knight Trilogy.” DiCaprio played Dominic Cobb, an Extractor who enters people’s dreams and takes information out of their minds, later selling it to competing companies. After creating a name for himself in the shady business world, Cobb is offered a way to redeem himself by doing one last job to implant ideas into a businessman’s mind, a seemingly impossible task. DiCaprio plays a man who needs to do one last challenging and dangerous task before he and his family can be safe again. If he loses track of the depth of the dream state he is in, it could be his end.  DiCaprio depicts this dilemma by the way he tries to stay cautious. Overall, “Inception” is known for being a quite confusing movie due to its unique form and puzzling “cliff hanger” ending. Nominated for eight Oscars, “Inception” only won four. DiCaprio was not nominated for any of the awards and the winner of Best Actor was Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.”

The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese knows a good actor when he sees one and loves to use the same actors in many of his movies. Thus, there was no doubt that he would cast DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in his film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” DiCaprio plays a stockbroker in this seemingly typical rags-to-riches film, except it also contains the fallback to rags as Belfort was a corrupt, white collar criminal who stole a significant amount of money from many people. The film generated plenty of controversy due to its inclusion of sensitive topics involving graphic scenes of drug use and strong sexual content, but the plot and acting was so exceptional that people still enjoyed it. DiCaprio is familiar with roles that place him under the stress of work, and he portrays Belfort very complexly as he displays his charming exterior and morally corrupt core. “The Wolf of Wall Street” was nominated for five Oscars however DiCaprio did not win Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role even though it was one of his best films. In the end, the winner of the award was given to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in “Lincoln.”

Despite so many snubs throughout his acting career and neglect from the Academy, DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his part in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” after acting for over twenty years and being nominated five times during his career. DiCaprio plays a betrayed man named Hugh Glass, who wants revenge on his so-called friends who left him for dead after a bear attack. DiCaprio stars alongside a well-rounded cast, which included Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson, and won three Oscar Awards as well as three Golden Globe Awards.