Leonardo DiCaprio | The Wolf of Wall Street
The Best Actor category of this year’s Oscars may be the most stacked the field has ever been. Each of the five performers nominated (Christian Bale for American Hustle, Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave, and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street) truly deserves a nod for his respective role, but for me, there’s only one clear choice in this discussion.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been ignored and neglected by the Academy for too long. With his portrayal of lustful, money-obsessed, drug addict tycoon, Jordan Belfort, in Martin Scorcese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio has reached the pinnacle of his career, giving us a character that is so despicable and deplorable in his behavior yet still somewhat likable, thanks solely to the sheer charisma and excitement that Leo breathes into every scene, every moment.
While I have many issues with The Wolf of Wall Street as a film (it’s overly long, lacks focus, and fails to utilize the numerous characters that it throws at us in interesting and entertaining ways), DiCaprio is most certainly not one of those problems. In fact, Leo’s work in Wolf is so good and so strong that it elevates the somewhat shallow and soulless source material and provides it with substance.
Whether it’s the Jerry Lewis-influenced, comedic “quaalude crawl,” or his internal struggle to leave behind the firm he built (which ultimately ends with him staying put as the CEO), DiCaprio displays almost every emotion in the book. And more importantly, he makes us share in each of those feelings with him throughout the whole crazy ride.