Awards nominations are a regular occurrence for Leonardo DiCaprio, who turns up on prestigious seasonal film lists as often as a hunter returns to the woods.
On Thursday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. honored DiCaprio with a Golden Globe actor — drama nomination for his role as a wounded fur trapper in “The Revenant,” set and shot largely in the forbidding cold of western Canada. It is the 15th time DiCaprio has been nominated for an acting Globe or Oscar.
This time, though, things are shaping up in some unfamiliar ways.
“Any time you’re recognized it feels good, but especially for a film like this, which has been a different experience,” DiCaprio said in an interview shortly after the nomination. “I’ve made no qualms about saying that making this movie is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure.”
Yes, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was nominated. Click through to see more 73rd Golden Globe nomination surprises and snubs.(Open Road Films; Warner Bros.; AMC; Starz)
It’s not often a summer blockbuster is among the mix during awards season, but “Mad Max: Fury Road” earned a nomination in the very competitive drama picture category, edging out films such as “Steve Jobs,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Director George Miller was also nominated.(Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures)
While “Spotlight” was nominated in the drama picture category, none of the film’s actors were recognized. The film’s two other nominations were for directing and screenwriting.(Kerry Hayes )
Perennial Golden Globes favorite Johnny Depp was not recognized for his turn as Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass,” which some consider a more awards-worthy performace than some of his past roles that earned him nominations. “Black Mass” was not recognized in any category.(Warner Bros.)
The Golden Globes haven’t shied away from recognizing new talent when it comes to nominations, but it was still a surprise to see Rachel Bloom of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” among the nominees for TV comedy actress.(Eddy Chen / The CW)
Another new series to get some love from the HFPA is “Mr. Robot.” The show was among those nominated for drama series, and both Rami Malek and Christian Slater earned acting nods, making “Mr. Robot” one of the top TV nominees.(David Giesbrecht / USA Network)
It should no longer come as a surprise that Netflix is racking up awards nominations, but most did not expect to see “Narcos” in the mix for the very competitive drama series category over shows including “Mad Men” or “House of Cards.” Wagner Moura also earned a nomination in the TV drama actor category.(Daniel Daza / Netflix)
When it comes to Amazon comedy series, “Transparent” tends to get the spotlight, but “Mozart in the Jungle” came out with 2 Golden Globe nominations -- one for comedy series and the other for lead actor Gael García Bernal.(Amazon Studios)
Hulu’s “Casual” was also among the comedy series nominees. Network shows were completely shut out in the category.(Hulu)
It was out with the old, in with the new in many categories, including the highly competitive TV drama actress race.was one of three newcomers in the field for her portrayal of Vanessa Ives in “Penny Dreadful.”(Jonathan Hession / Showtime)
This year’s nominees show the HFPA embracing genre fare that is often overlooked by other awards shows, including “Outlander.” The show is among those nominated in the drama series race, and both Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies were nominated in acting categories.(Neil Davidson / Starz)
That Aziz Ansari earned a comedy series actor nomination for his role in “Master of None” is not as surprising as the fact that only one of last year’s nominees made it back to the list. The rest of the field (including Ansari) is made up of performances for shows in their freshman season.(K.C. Bailey / Netflix)
The last year of “Mad Men” was only recognized in one category. Jon Hamm earned the show’s sole nomination for actor in a TV drama series.(Justina Mintz / AMC)
Perhaps one of the most surprising nominations was the ballet drama “Flesh and Bone” in the limited series or TV movie category. Sara Hay also earned a nomination for actress in a limited series or TV movie. But it wouldn’t be the Golden Globes without a few headscratchers.(Patrick Harbron / Starz)
That may not be the only reason this go-'round is different. Though DiCaprio has won an acting Globe in two out of the 10 instances he’s previously been nominated, he has never won an Oscar — not in his four times as an actor nor his one time as a producer. The 41-year-old has been riding an Academy Award cold streak dating back more than two decades; his first nomination, for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?,” came in 1994.
To top it off, DiCaprio is associated with one of the famous Oscar snubs of all time — his turn as Jack Dawson in “Titanic” was left off the actor shortlist in 1998.
Yet this could be the year all of that changes. As SAG Awards and Golden Globes pundits focused the last few days on Matt Damon (in for Globes, out for SAG), Mark Ruffalo (in for Globes, but for a different movie than his acclaimed “Spotlight”) and Bryan Cranston (surprisingly in with both groups), DiCaprio has been quietly chugging along. He too was nominated for both a Globe and SAG award.
And he’s emerged as the odds-on favorite to win those prizes, as well as an Oscar for his work in “The Revenant.”
In the visceral Alejandro G. Iñárritu film, DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a man on the early 19th century American frontier who after a bear attack is left for dead and must find his way to his camp, where he also has unfinished mortal business with a brash fellow trapper named Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fighting for survival and bent on revenge, Glass has a desperation of purpose, and DiCaprio lends the role a primal force.
Those involved with the film describe how the actor would, in subzero temperatures and buried under clothes and beard, act for hours even while nearly motionless and speechless on the ground.
“There was something profound about what he was doing, even lying there still, acting with his eyes and being in sync with the camera at all times,” Iñárritu said in an interview.
Awards voters tend to like when charming and gregarious actors take on roles in which speech is a challenge. The trend that has been borne out numerous times in recent years, with winners such as Jean Dujardin in “The Artist,” Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” and Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything.”
Voters also tend to take in an entertainer’s entire resume, especially when they’ve been around a long time without winning a statuette. DiCaprio’s frequent collaborator, Martin Scorsese, won his first Oscar for “The Departed” in 2007, 40 years after he began making films. The prize was as seen as much as a career coda as a specific homage.
A long line of actors also falls into this category. Jeff Bridges had, like DiCaprio, struck out four times at the Oscars before winning on his fifth try for “Crazy Heart” in 2010. Al Pacino won an Oscar in 1993 for “Scent of a Woman” after 20 years of nominations and frustrations — about the same length as DiCaprio’s losing streak.
DiCaprio’s dry spell may be in part the result of the choices he’s made. The actor has had an anomalous career in modern Hollywood, eschewing the kind of painstaking Method work that often wins Oscars (Daniel Day-Lewis, e.g.) or the swings from big commercial films to small upscale drama that tends to catch voters’ attention.
WINNER: miniseries actress - Lady Gaga
NOMINATED: miniseries(Suzanne Tenner / TNS)
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy; comedy actor - Christian Bale, Steve Carell; screenplay(Paramount Pictures / TNS)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; drama actress - Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara; director - Todd Haynes; original score(Courtesy of The Weinstein Compan / The Weinstein Company)
NOMINATED: drama actor - Eddie Redmayne; supporting actress - Alicia Vikander; original score(Agatha A. Nitecka / Focus Features)
WINNER: drama actress - Taraji P. Henson
NOMINATED: drama series(Chuck Hodes / FOX)
NOMINATED: miniseries; miniseries actress - Kirsten Dunst; miniseries actor - Patrick Wilson(Chris Large / FX)
WINNER: comedy actress - Jennifer Lawrence
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy(Merie Weismiller Wallace / 20th Century Fox)
NOMINATED: drama series; drama actor - Wagner Moura(Daniel Daza / Netflix)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; director - George Miller(Jasin Boland / TNS)
WINNER: supporting actor - Christian Slater; drama series
NOMINATED: drama actor - Rami Malek(Sarah Shatz / USA)
NOMINATED: comedy series; best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television - Uzo Aduba(JoJo Whilden / Netflix / TNS)
NOMINATED: drama series; drama actress - Caitriona Balfe; supporting actor - Tobias Menzies(Ed Miller / Starz Entertainment)
WINNER: drama actress - Brie Larson
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; screenplay(George Kraychyk / A24)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; director - Tom McCarthy; screenplay(Kerry Hayes / TNS)
WINNER: supporting actress - Kate Winslet; screenplay
NOMINATED: drama actor - Michael Fassbender; original score(Francois Duhamel / Universal Pictures)
WINNER: comedy actor - Matt Damon; motion picture comedy
NOMINATED: director - Ridley Scott(Giles Keyte / 20th Century Fox / TNS)
WINNER: director - Alejandro González Iñárritu; drama actor - Leonardo DiCaprio; motion picture drama
NOMINATED: original score(Kimberley French / 20th Century Fox)
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy; comedy actress - Amy Schumer(Mary Cybulski / Universal Pictures)
NOMINATED: comedy series; comedy actor - Jeffrey Tambor; supporting actress - Judith Light(Beth Dubber / Amazon Studios)
NOMINATED: comedy series; comedy actress - Julia Louis-Dreyfus(Handout / TNS)
NOMINATED: miniseries actor - Mark Rylance; supporting actor - Damian Lewis(Giles Keyte / Masterpiece / BBC)
Instead, DiCaprio has combined the two into a kind of unlikely hybrid — the big upscale commercial drama, you might call it. His last four movies had him playing J. Edgar Hoover (“J. Edgar”), a plantation-owning villain in a Quentin Tarantino movie (“Django Unchained”), Jay Gatsby (“The Great Gatsby”) and the rogue trader Jordan Belfort (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was the most comedic of the group and notched him a Golden Globe two years ago).
And while he pops up in the tabloids due to his high-profile dating exploits and is known for his environmental activism), DiCaprio doesn’t actively seeks the limelight, makes occasional but not entirely persuasive stops on the late-night circuit and doesn’t serve as Hollywood’s unofficial diplomat — in contrast to, say, someone like George Clooney, who, coincidentally or not, has two Academy Award statuettes on his mantel.
DiCaprio’s lack of Oscars has now become a fascination in its own right, the stuff of quasi-serious social-media campaign and blog posts with titles like “Why does the academy hate Leo DiCaprio?”
The actor affects a Zen pose about his long wanderings in the Oscar desert. “The truth is with many of these awards it’s beyond your control,” DiCaprio said in the interview. That may be true, but on Thursday he began to look like he had matters well in hand.
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