Monday, December 28, 2015

Rise of the legend

Do you really want Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar? No, seriously. You should be asking yourself this question because we are at that junction in history where an actor is acquiring legendary status. And it's a critical moment for humankind. (OK, i'm exaggerating here but you get the point.) He was in his teens when he first got nominated for this award (yes, we can always argue about the merit of an award decided by oldies but we can't come up with a bigger substitute for that golden baldie in the world of cinema) and he's 41 now. It's been a long ride for him. Going by his recent films, it's apparent that Robert De Niro doesn't care much about the script anymore. He's more into comedy nowadays and seems to enjoy having fun for a change. The same is true for Jack Nicholson, who hasn't given a TV interview in over four decades now! And Al Pacino. Gene Hackman hasn't appeared in a film in over a decade now. So, the male Hollywood actors who carved themselves a niche in the 1970s aren't around to bother. Their successors are going to be either in their early 40s or 50s. Which cuts down the table to the Brad Pitts, Tom Cruises and Johnny Depps of the world. Brad Pitt has done a great job of transcending from acting in good films to producing great films. Tom Cruise seems stuck in his Ethan Hunt persona which bodes well for BO. Johnny Depp can't be recognized in most of his films thanks to heavy makeup but how many of them stand out on his merit? There's no doubt that nobody comes close to Daniel Day Lewis in terms of thespian perfection. But then, how much can you grade an actor who has worked in only five films in 15 years? Hasn't his choosiness and knack for details worked against his opportunities to test himself more? On the other hand, DiCaprio worked in 15 films during this century, each film unique in its own way. Not a single role can be found cascaded into another. The argument isn't just about his amazing work rate but also his unperturbed dedication to his art. He comes across as a careless New Yorker in his real life who loves partying but when it comes to cinema, can you think of anyone who has pushed himself the way he has—at least in the 21st century? Take his latest venture, The Revenant (2015), for instance. The pain he showcases ain't very detached from the personal discomfort he appears to have experienced during the shooting of this film. Being submerged in freezing water for one scene while consuming raw meat (despite being a vegan) for another are just two of the several difficulties he must have gone through. I don't mean to give out spoilers here but i can tell you two things for sure: 

1. The Revenant is one of the finest films of all time and it is so because DiCaprio's dedication to the cinematographer's vision is incredible.
2. Technically, you shouldn't want DiCaprio to win an Oscar because there's a lingering fear that he might stop pushing himself if he wins one. 

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