Oscars fuel ‘Best Actor’ debate

February 27, 2014 6:17 AM5 comments

Column by Stephanie Kocer

Stephanie Kocer Columnist-w800-h800Anyone who knows me knows that I love movies. That love of movies is only enhanced around this time of year. I’m talking about the Oscars, people.

There have been a lot of great movies this year, but my personal favorite (Sorry, Mom) was “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Those of you who have seen “Wolf” know that it has three elements to it: lots of drug use, lots of naked women and Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio plays real-life Wall Street criminal Jordan Belfort. He cheats the Wall Street system and eventually ends up going to prison for selling illegal stocks.

During this three-and-a-half-hour ride (yes, it is that long), DiCaprio and Jonah Hill swindle people and live as larger-than-life drug addicts. It sounds glorified, but in the end their worlds come crashing down with major repercussions.

The movie is good and has a good message if you’re into that sort of thing, but it would be nothing without DiCaprio.

I could go on and on about how wonderful he was in this movie, but I know you don’t have all day, so I’ll try to sum it up. It is extremely hard for someone to play such an awful character and still have the audience root for him in the end. By the end of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” you will want DiCaprio’s character to fix his wrongs and kick his drug habit. You’ll want Belfort to live a better life.

When I came out of the movie theater after seeing “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I thought two things. One, “Wow I feel bad for that guy.” And two, “How can I hang out with Jonah Hill?”

My point is that on Sunday, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves to win an Academy Award for his role in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

He probably won’t, though.  There are a lot of things working against him.

For one, the academy has never been kind to DiCaprio. Sure, they gave him a nomination here and there, but he never saw any credit for his incredible roles in “Django Unchained” or “The Departed.”

He’s also kind of got the entire Internet pinned against him. Have you seen all of the DiCaprio memes making fun of the Oscar-less actor?

Then, of course, there’s the real problem: Matthew McConaughey. Let me state that I actually quite enjoy McConaughey. He’s funny and pretty adorable. He also gives weirdly hilarious acceptance speeches, so he has that going for him.

McConaughey gave a career-altering performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” by playing a man dying of AIDS. It’s a great movie. It’s a role of a lifetime. It’s an Oscar-worthy performance.

If “Dallas Buyers Club” would have come out in any other year, I would have been rooting for McConaughey 100 percent.

But that is DiCaprio’s Oscar. He’s never going to get a better role than Jordan Belfort. I don’t know if I can stand to watch the man who starred in “Fools Gold” walk away with DiCaprio’s Oscar.

I don’t know why the universe has to be so cruel to DiCaprio. I mean, McConaughey just started making good films this year, while DiCaprio has been doing it since he was a teenager.

The academy, however, is never consistent with its voting. Last year it seemed like the “Best Actress” category was split right down the middle between Jenifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty.” I would be a liar if I didn’t say that Lawrence winning was kind of a shock to me at first. I completely agree with their choice, but usually they don’t vote for the youngsters.

Even though McConaughey is a newcomer to the world of good filmmaking, The academy may just surprise us. Maybe it will finally give us what we want. Maybe it will finally recognize DiCaprio as the true artist that he is.

I hope I can make it to Sunday without having a nervous breakdown over the “Best Actor” category.

 

 

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love movies. That love of movies is only enhanced around this time of year. I’m talking about the Oscars, people.

There have been a lot of great movies this year, but my personal favorite (Sorry, Mom) was “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Those of you who have seen “Wolf” know that it has three elements to it: lots of drug use, lots of naked women and Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio plays real-life Wall Street criminal Jordan Belfort. He cheats the Wall Street system and eventually ends up going to prison for selling illegal stocks.

During this three-and-a-half-hour ride (yes, it is that long), DiCaprio and Jonah Hill swindle people and live as larger-than-life drug addicts. It sounds glorified, but in the end their worlds come crashing down with major repercussions.

The movie is good and has a good message if you’re into that sort of thing, but it would be nothing without DiCaprio.

I could go on and on about how wonderful he was in this movie, but I know you don’t have all day, so I’ll try to sum it up. It is extremely hard for someone to play such an awful character and still have the audience root for him in the end. By the end of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” you will want DiCaprio’s character to fix his wrongs and kick his drug habit. You’ll want Belfort to live a better life.

When I came out of the movie theater after seeing “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I thought two things. One, “Wow I feel bad for that guy.” And two, “How can I hang out with Jonah Hill?”

My point is that on Sunday, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves to win an Academy Award for his role in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

He probably won’t, though.  There are a lot of things working against him.

For one, the academy has never been kind to DiCaprio. Sure, they gave him a nomination here and there, but he never saw any credit for his incredible roles in “Django Unchained” or “The Departed.”

He’s also kind of got the entire Internet pinned against him. Have you seen all of the DiCaprio memes making fun of the Oscar-less actor?

Then, of course, there’s the real problem: Matthew McConaughey. Let me state that I actually quite enjoy McConaughey. He’s funny and pretty adorable. He also gives weirdly hilarious acceptance speeches, so he has that going for him.

McConaughey gave a career-altering performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” by playing a man dying of AIDS. It’s a great movie. It’s a role of a lifetime. It’s an Oscar-worthy performance.

If “Dallas Buyers Club” would have come out in any other year, I would have been rooting for McConaughey 100 percent.

But that is DiCaprio’s Oscar. He’s never going to get a better role than Jordan Belfort. I don’t know if I can stand to watch the man who starred in “Fools Gold” walk away with DiCaprio’s Oscar.

I don’t know why the universe has to be so cruel to DiCaprio. I mean, McConaughey just started making good films this year, while DiCaprio has been doing it since he was a teenager.

The academy, however, is never consistent with its voting. Last year it seemed like the “Best Actress” category was split right down the middle between Jenifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty.” I would be a liar if I didn’t say that Lawrence winning was kind of a shock to me at first. I completely agree with their choice, but usually they don’t vote for the youngsters.

Even though McConaughey is a newcomer to the world of good filmmaking, The academy may just surprise us. Maybe it will finally give us what we want. Maybe it will finally recognize DiCaprio as the true artist that he is.

I hope I can make it to Sunday without having a nervous breakdown over the “Best Actor” category.

Kocer is a junior magazine and English double major and can be reached at stephanie.kocer@drake.edu

5 Comments

  • Stephanie,
    Totally agree with you! This is the best movie of the year ever. 3-hour was too short for me to enjoy the movie..Leo definitely deserves the award..well no I be knows what’s gonna happen in Oscar..all we can do is to support him as how we did!! Oscar Dicaprio.

  • Stephanie,
    Totally agree with you! This is the best movie of the year ever. 3-hour was just too short for me to enjoy the movie..Leo definitely deserves the award..well no One knows what’s gonna happen in Oscar..all we can do is to support him as how we did!! Oscar Dicaprio.

  • No, no he really shouldn’t.

    I am surrounded by 20 something year old boys who worship Belfort as “the ultimate example of the American Male” and see this movie as a guide on how to get there. Never-mind the fact that it will show an entire generation of teenage boys how to treat women like trash (regardless of Marty’s intentions) Never-mind the fact that the movie is made particularly for men, via the vocie over at the beining (“put your d*** back in your pants”)

    and really is this movie doing anything new? At this point, “white Wall Street conmen experience meteoric rise and disgraceful plummet, as accompanied by prostitutes and drugs; cause us to question our own social values” isn’t new ground to tread. In a year where we had some pretty cool and unusual things happening in mainstream cinema (an animated “princess” movie where the most important relationship was between two sisters, a space thriller whose face was a middle-aged woman, a high-grossing action movie starring a young woman, a sci-fi blockbuster where 2/3 leads were NOT white men, a female buddy-cop movie), this just seems….tired. And honestly, nothing in this movie helps us to ask any questions that haven’t been asked a million times, in similar explorations. here’s an idea let’s celbrate progress not excess.

  • Nope, I wouldn’t recommend the film to anyone. The wolf of wall street is bad. Not because it’s provocative but because it’s disgusting and offensive for no reason. Its misogyny is not an exposure or a critique, it’s a display. The message it pretends to be sending is just an excuse for the provocation that will guarantee some eyeballs, it doesn’t really criticize what it is portraying in any meaningful way nor does it expose how harmful it is to the women surrounding its ahole protagonist, who is the only one that matters and the consequences for him are the only consequences that matter. All that stays with you are the images of women used as objects, like in porn and this guy having a good time until he is not. They simply make sure that the film leaves an impression to boost its oscar chances even if that impression is through meaningless, misogynistic, degrading imagery and language. Bothering to critique or expose the injustice of things must be too much for the dumb audience they assume they have I guess

  • Utter sexist garbage. Very surprised to see anyone aside from the immature testosterone fulled 20 years supporting this.

    Becuase of course none of them wanted to see something like Her, Philopmena, or Blue is The Warmest Color. (Which all legimatly broke new ground.) Rather they support the same tropes which scorsesse already has covered but even better in the past.

    Quite Sad really.