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Leo, Lists, Ladies, and Link Love

French Toast Sunday 5 best summer movies? Confession: I have never seen Crooklyn but always wanted to. 
Gawker on Cher's wiggy performance on The Voice 
The Local did you hear this story about how a French teacher an 11 year-old class Saw? WTF? At least pick a classic horror with artistic historical merit.
Guardian the next Star Wars sequels are looking for a teenage female lead? Whoa. I guess Hunger Games and Twilight are even more influential than they appear to be

Variety Miss Saigon is returning to the boards but I'm personally still curious as to why the movie version has never happened?
My New Plaid Pants the three things you need to see from the Anchorman 2 trailer
Los Angeles Times Show Tracker the women of Mad Men speak about the impending end
Film Flare awww, I had totally forgotten about "Elizabeth Taylor" on Sex & the City 
The Cinematic Katzenjammer Shailene Woodley cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (ahem, 5). What, no Mary Jane? Seems odd to cut her just as her star is rising
Empire speaking of which. Here's more on her Hunger Games which is called Divergent
Hark, A Vagrant! takes on The Secret Garden 

On Leo...
Awards Daily asks why Leonardo DiCaprio is so often ignored by the Academy (brought on by The Wolf of Wall Street trailer). I know he has many devout fans and I am often criticized for not adoring him wholeheartedly these days but I disagree (and muchly) with the notion that his work has improved with age. I still think he has beautiful moments in several of his recent star turns but as a whole from film to film he is not pushing himself and is deeply repetitive in his acting choices (not just in the surface role similarities I've mocked like his run through The Dead Wives Club).

But I harbor no illusions that the Academy shares my opinion of his gift...

I think it's as simple as this: Leading Men who are considered beautiful always have to fight harder for Oscar love. That's all there is to it (well, that and them preferring five other people each time he's missed out). Paul Newman and Jeff Bridges, two of the best screen actors of all time, didn't win until their 60s and Leo isn't nearly that good! Plus he's only 38 years old. Leo has the same amount of acting nominations as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp and the similarities are instantly noticeable, aren't they? Good looking marquee value men who are often viewed as STARS first, ACTORS second (whether or not that's an accurate description). I have no doubt Leo will eventually win -- and I think nominations will be much easier to come by in his 40s after whatever hiatus he plans to take -- but I think if it doesn't happen for him with Wolf, he'll have to wait until at least his mid40s and possibly much longer as many desirable leading men have had to in the past. I'm not sure why everyone expects the rules to be different for this one actor. The question of why not yet is as simple as the male dominated Oscar's completely obvious binary gender standards: they usually like to award female actors for being young and hot and, to some extent, new; and they usually like to award male actors for their bodies of work when they have stood the test of time (and are less sexually threatening).



This Sunday...
Oooh, I totally wanna watch this. Oprah is talking to four black actresses on their unique struggles in Hollywood on her new network. (Do I even get this network? I do not know)

Alfre Woodard (that's enough right there!), Viola Davis (YES), Phyllicia Rashad (makes sense) and Gabrielle Union (Bring it!) which is a classy lineup, don'cha think?

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Reader Comments (45)

I'm guessing the big reason MISS SAIGON hasn't made the jump to the big screen yet is because the folks who hold the rights most likely were waiting to see how LES MIS would fare with audiences. The other potential stumbling block I can see is that Hollywood loves casting big names in its musicals, and there aren't a lot of stars out there who are:

[a] Asian (don't want this to be a controversy magnet after all),
[b] can sing the parts (better than Russell Crowe anyway), and
[c] perhaps most importantly, are big enough names to sell the movie and be pushed come Oscar season.

Plus the Vietnam War isn't exactly fashionable Oscar bait anymore, is it? Fifteen years ago it would have been a slam dunk.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C.

Paul -- sigh. you're probably right but i so long for the days when hollywood didn't need big stars for everything. what happened to *making* stars.

June 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not surprised that Star Wars is looking for a teenager, and I don't think t has anything to do with Hunger Games or Twilight. Carrie Fisher was 21. Natalie Portman was 18. Star Wars has always gone really young.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

the more I think of "Django Unchained", the more I realize he is my choice for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar Win; he was absolutely flawless in this and very non-Dicaprio.

I also think he deserves a nomination for "Shutter Island".

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Totally agree on Leo, Revolutionary Road aside. The Wolf of Wall Street trailer is promising, though, he seems to be giving a livelier performance than what he's been doing lately.

And you should totally watch Crooklyn!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

@Yavor - While Sam Jackson was my favorite in the movie, I wouldn't have argued with Leo winning (or even being nominated) for that role. It was just great to watch him and tell that he was having fun!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I agree with you, but after seeing the wolf trailer. I really think the attention is going to go straight to McConaughey. Not for this role, but his small role in wolf will definitely help his chances with Dallas Buyers Club. I thought he stole the trailer from Leo and I didn't expect that. Not to mention McConaughey is the actor that is really at the top of his game at the moment. He is just incredible. Its a pity he wasted those talents on rom coms. Best career comeback ever i think. Even more so than Mickey Rourke because McConaughey is consistent and showing a lot of range.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I remember seeing the first trailer for Django Unchained and thinking the Oscar would be a lock for DiCaprio. How could he miss playing what appeared to be a perversely charismatic villain (worked for Waltz)? Then I finally saw the movie and he was absolutely blown off the screen by everyone, especially Sam Jackson (that should've been the nominated/winning performance from that film). That performance, as with so much of his work, felt oddly mannered in a film that needed something more loose and unhinged. The looseness is there in some of his early work and in his underrated work in Catch Me If You Can, and I don't think he's ever been better than he was as someone just barely on the edge in The Departed.

As far as his looks go, I don't think he's too good looking, but the real problem is that he's terribly young looking. Another reason Catch Me If You Can is a standout for me is because he actually looks right for the part. This is becoming less of a problem as he's knocking on 40 (he's never looked better than he did in Gatsby). I don't doubt that he'll eventually make his way to the podium, but I think the amount of honors he's received so far feels about right.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVal

I'm firmly on the Leo bandwagon. I don't understand why he wasn't nominated for Django. I mean most of that category last year was a mess IMO and Christoph in lead winning again? Ugh. Anyway, the point is it seems they just aren't nominating him which is weird. In comparison to Depp especially, Leo has given many more worthy performances.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNic meyers

Don't remind me that Waltz won for his leading performance that was essentially the same thing he did in Basterds. My favorite Leo performance is Catch Me if You Can. Truly underrated. He has such a boyish charm in that film.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Though I'm not a DiCaprio apologist, I can't really think of a bad performance in the recent years (maybe Inception, but that movie was ...). Plus, he does what "we" ask Meryl to do, work with great directors.

Then, what's the problem? I think there'are 2 problems. First, he peaked as a well respected actor (Gilbert Grape) before becoming a huge movie star (Titanic). The other cases you mention: Pitt and Cruise, first became movie stars and only later they started trying to showcase their talent instead of their beautiful hair and worked out bodies. To me it seems as if big stardom with Titanic was the reward the industry gave DiCaprio to recognize his talent. Then, there's the second problem, I think he and his manager/team or agency are too career aware of his choices. It's like he's been trying to prove he's a good actor with every role he takes. People like him, the industry respects him, I think he should just try to have fun playing characters in movies, and maybe make outside the box choices (Lebouf character in the next Von Trier would've been so refreshing, for instance).

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Nic -- the reaction to Django was the reason he wasn't nominated. For some inexplicable reason nobody seemed to see that Samuel L Jackson was (by miles) the best in show and than Waltz had the biggest role so by default, he gets it ;) ...that's the only explanation i can come up with and i'm still kinda horrified by that win considering how few people even have 1 Oscar that need it.

June 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

On Shailene Woodley getting cut: I was (kind of) expecting that. She has many talents, but she's not really a lively type, as far as I can tell. (And this series seems to be trying to hew closer to the ACTUAL personalities from the original comics, for everyone.) It sounded like a possible "ashcan Mary Jane", if that makes any sense. (And I know it almost certainly doesn't.)

Villain Count: Three, probably four, in some capacity (Rhino, Electro, Black Cat and Norman Osborn)
Love Interest Count: One, probably two (yes, two) (Gwen Stacy, Felicia Hardy)

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

volvagia -- yeah i have no idea what an "ashcan" person is.

June 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Like the 1994 Fantastic Four movie.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Iggy's right - Leo does exactly what we all claim to want major movie stars to do. He's picky, only works with top flight directors, and does solid or better work in everything. The run of dead wives movies seems to have locked in an impression of Leo as a dour, joyless performer prone to repeating the same performance over and over, but it doesn't reflect the work. Leaving aside that at least one of the dead wife performances - Shutter Island - is one of his very best - look at Django and Gatsby and the trailer for Wolf and tell me it's the same thing over and over. Not buying that one bit!

That said, the analysis of his Oscar chances here is spot on - he hasn't aged out of his boyish good looks enough to be taken seriously as a mature movie star, and he's been doing good work in good movies for so long that there's no comeback narrative to rally around, as will, I suspect, be the case before the end of the year with Matthew McConaughy.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

DiCaprio should have been nominated for "The Departed", "Revolutionary Road" and "Django Unchained". Should have NOT for "Blood Diamond". And he might have won for "Aviator", "Revolutionary Road", "Django" and "Gilbert Grape". Not for all of them but at least for one.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

I wish Angela Bassett was on that panel of African-American actresses. Finally get to see "What's Love Got to Do with It", and if not for the legendary performance of Holly Hunter, she could've won best actress...

As with Leo, I just don't find him that exciting as an actor, but I don't hate him like a lot of other people do. I still think "Catch Me If You Can" is still his best work to date. What I don't get is Matthew McConaughey, essentially playing the same character who is eccentric, but charming with his whoo-hoos and similar physical tics. That said, I am looking forward to "Dallas Buyers Club".

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLars

The conversation hasn't changed because Hollywood never suffers financially for being a repeat offender. Using stereotype and tokenism to do business when being diverse in their casting limits growth of the performers of color who have just as much bottomless potential as their white counterparts of a certain caliber.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

This is why I love the Film Experience-I totally have a TV date with five fantastic actresses on Sunday night now!

As for Leo, there's something to the argument that he's underewarded with Oscar-there's only seven other actors in the history of the Golden Globes that have received six or more nominations at the Globes that did not translate to the Oscars. Of course, by that argument Meryl is underrewarded, as she has eight nominations that didn't equal Oscar, so precursors can only go so far.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Leo should have won once.

For Romeo + Juliet.

It is an spectacular star turn performance, incredibly passionate, natural, beautiful and soulful.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Basically: They "cast" Woodley for this series to inform actresses, "Yes, we do want a Mary Jane Watson for this series, so don't be scared and send your audition tapes in." That's kind of what I mean when I brought up the "Ashcan person" concept. This movie's already veering so far with all the aspects it has right now that it's going to wind up one of three things: 1. Long and masterful. (About 170 minutes) 2. Absurdly bloated. (Above 200 minutes) 3. Too short and utterly incomprehensible. (130-140 minutes)

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Re: Miss Saigon, I believe Lee Daniels is currently attached to direct. But he's got 100 other things first, apparently.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

cal roth: I don't quite agree with that. He's...good (6th place and all his facial expressions are perfect)...but 1996 is also the year of the brilliant and category frauded William H. Macy in Fargo, Chris Cooper in John Sayles parental exoneration drama Lone Star and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, let alone the good old fashioned Tom Cruise star turn in Jerry Maguire and Ralph Fiennes balancing charisma and pity in The English Patient. The big problem with DiCaprio is that his face DOES sail him through his rough spots enough to make him my closest also ran, but he's also the ONLY cast member I can see obviously tripping on the Shakespearean prose. Even CLAIRE DANES handles that aspect FAR better than he does.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I think Leo can win the Oscar with "The Wolf of Wall Street." "Rules" that aren't rules to begin with have nowhere else to go but be broken.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo

Nathaniel basically hit all the bases I take issue with DiCaprio. And as a major Scorsese fan, that it was Leo and not DDL being the next leading man when Gangs of New York was embarrassing for DiCaprio and a great comeback for DDL.

The Wolf of Wall Street seems to have Scorsese reawakening from his post-Casino slumber, no longer making passion projects and tributes to cinema history. It looks like a different actor and a director who figured out he just really wanted a younger Robert DeNiro this whole time.

Be it I liked DiCaprio find in The Departed and Shutter Island to be very good but I feel like he needs flawlessly cast supporting players (like Damon and Wahlberg in The Departed and Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, and Ben Kingsley in Shutter Island) to be around him quite a lot for him to work. He was not Howard Hughes to me but then again, I felt like that movie was a glorified Vanity Fair shooting and Gangs of New York was good for anybody but DDL. He needs to balance his projects with different types of projects because he seemed dead-set on getting Oscar for the last decade. Even his finally, out of character type of roles feel a little cynical.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Lars- They cast himself in that type of role because he is the best at it, but i agree this role seems very similiar to Dallas from Magic Mike. But he has put in other performances this year that were not like that. For example: Killer Joe, Lincoln Lawyer, Paperboy, and Mud. Dallas Buyers Club will be his best role too date though. Ron Woodroof is a hell of a character. I'm obsessed with his story.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Leo absolutely was snubbed for Revolutionary Road. For me, that is his last great performance. I side with the naysayers on Django. He was fine up until he had to become the Grim Reaper, and he just couldn't quite pull it off. I just saw Gatsby, and he has the presence, but his stiffness was apparent, and I don't know what was up with that fading-in-and-out bad JFK accent.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Cal -- i love him in that movie too. My favorite Leo performances are easily

1. Gilbert Grape
2. Romeo + Juliet
3. The Aviator
4. The Departed

and for me nothing else really comes close to those four thought he was strong in Catch Me and This Boy's Life.

June 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel, you really should check out Crooklyn, especially if you love Alfre Woodard. The little girl in it is pretty good, too.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercash


Another part of the problem re: big screen musicals is that they're invariably sold as Prestige Pictures. It wasn't always like that, of course- back when the Freed unit was cranking one out every couple of weeks and Hollywood had stars who specialized in crooning and hoofing onscreen. But since the musical became less consistently viable from a commercial standpoint, it seems like Hollywood sees them as appealing to a niche audience, and the only way to really justify the budgets for new musicals is to make them big and heavy and Oscar bait-y, casting them with big-name Actors who may or may not be able to sing the parts well, and giving plenty of leeway for the behind-the-scenes talent in order to rack up technical nominations. Like anything else in Hollywood, the whole big-screen musical production process has been tweaked and focus-grouped within an inch of its life, because they'll be damned if they're taking any chances with something that doesn't involve massive explosions and costumed heroes, by golly.

Then again, if Lee Daniels is directing then Kim will probably end up having incestuous feelings about her child and maybe someone will get peed on. It's always something with that guy.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C.

If there's any actor who seems 'repetitive' in his roles, it has to be George Clooney. Yet the Academy loves him (compared to Leo) for obvious reasons. To be fair, I think his movies are varied and interesting but certainly not his performances. Everytime I watch him on screen, I feel as if I'm watching past incarnations of his other roles.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJans

I'm not really a Leo fan, but I liked him a lot more when he was younger. I voted that the academy has been generous. Not sure that's truly how I feel, but I'm not really a fan, soo ... I think he's vastly overrated. I don't understand why everyone thinks he should have an Oscar. He'll get one one day I'm sure, but he's no better than any other actor his age in his same position on the social ladder. He's not a prodigy or anything.

I still don't understand how he missed out for Django, though. I mean I didn't like his performance ... at first I thought he was good, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt he was very calculated and such. I can't remember exactly what I thought of it, but it was something along those lines. But my feelings aside, it was a showy villain role in a Quentin Tarantino movie from a major star and a very weird supporting actor category. It's so weird how that category panned out.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I totally thought he was gonna get the Oscar for Django. And then Christoph Waltz came through and got his second Oscar in three years for working with the same director that got him his first in his first American film and essentially performed the same role, only the good guy version and didn't even do anything in between the first Oscar and the second that warranted respect or hard earned good will. So strange lol. I was not okay with that Oscar win.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Your poll is missing a choice! Should have MORE nominations but NO wins. This is the logical choice!

3 Acadamy Award Nominations.

1. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
2. The Aviator
3. Blood Diamond

Should have been nominated:

1. The Departed
2. Revolutionary Road (SO underrated in this one)
3. Shutter Island (Very good in an albeit flawed film)
4. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Nom'd)

I wouldnt have nominated him, very strong performances and can see the argument:
5. The Aviator (Nom'd)
6. Blood Diamond (Nom'd)
7. Django Unchained
8. Catch Me If You Can (such a FUN performance)

Critically praised performances that I hate him in:
9. Inception
10. Gangs of New York
11. Titanic

I would give him 4 nominations, but argue he gave 8 award worthy performances (if that makes any sense).

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Also, regarding the black actresses video, Angela Bassett should totally be there in place of Gabrielle Union. But I suppose they needed someone to represent a younger generation and someone who wasn't a critically acclaimed award winning actress.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

DiCaprio has three nominations. In that same time frame (1993-2006), he's received more acting nominations than Jack Nicholson, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton and many others.

While Nathaniel's basic point about gender and AMPAS is astute, I think in DiCaprio's specific case, he doesn't have more nominations because when he merits attention, so do a lot of other people, and he doesn't merit attention all that often. I think if there's any actor that should be the focus of such an article, it should be Matt Damon, not DiCaprio.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Catch Me If You Can is my favorite DiCaprio performance; so nice to know others here feel the same way! I do wish he'd make a comedy comedy, but The Wolf of Wall Street looks to be a drama with a comedic edge so that will have to do for the time being. I think if Leo stepped away from the world of "prestige" films for a while (even Inception was pretty "worthy" by action movie standards) it would do his acting some good, get him using new muscles, so to speak. Something like a lighthearted caper or spy movie would be a refreshing change of pace.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

DiCaprio should have been nominated for "The Departed" instead of that terrible "Blood Diamond" in 2006, and though I thought he was nod-worthy for "The Aviator," I can't say that I've been all that impressed with his overall output.

Those blacktresses look unadulteratedly flawless in that video clip -- gorgeous, each and every one. I love that Viola Davis remains visible in film post "The Help," but she needs to headline a movie soon, less people forget how awesome she is. We all know how limited memories are with respect to women of color. Where is Denzel with the "Fences" adaptation for Pete's sake?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Troy - i know. Where is Denzel's loyalty? Think of the good karma of using your stardom to get Viola where she deserves to be?!

anonny -- i actually think he's kind of terrible in Inception, too so nice to hear someone else share that view. I watched it a second time and i was just stunned at how blah his expositoryness is.

June 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel, I'm really curious: you've said before that DiCaprio shouldn't try to be a character actor, he should accept that he is a movie star. I think you used Titanic as an example of what he should be doing more of. Now you're saying that he isn't pushing himself.

Could you give some examples of roles that you think would have been right for him? Roles he should have taken on, if he had had his pick, after Titanic.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnni-Björn

It's ridiculous that Leo has been cast as a 26-year-old in Wolf. He looks way older than his 38 years. The pancake makeup looks worse here than it was in J Edgar. I am relieved that Scorsese is actually working with Andrew Garfield instead of Leo in his next film, but why not take a chance on a less-heralded, more age-appropriate actor here?

The whole Leo-Oscar cult is insane. Both Pitt and Cruise (who I despise) have been overlooked for more award-worthy performances with far less fanfare. Part of the issue is that Leo seems to get cast in every third Oscar-bait movie with a young- to middle-aged male lead part, even when he's totally ill-suited to it.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I thought Denzel's performance in Flight last year was very underawarded. Every time i see it, i like his performance more and more. It might be his best role.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Josh, totally agree. I was overjoyed that he got a nom for Flight. He so deserved it. The last scenes are heartbreaking. And he carries the entire movie like a true movie star who is also giving an honest portrayal of a complicated, self-deluding character.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

EXcellent video with awesome post. Thanks for sharing

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEthnic Food

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