Oscar History

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« "Knowing Jack, it might be some pretend place" | Main | "Nominations for Everyone!" - Saturn Awards »

4 Days Til Oscar. 4 Time Acting Nominees Leo & Julia

If Oscars were given out for consistent box office performance (there's already a prize for that and it's called "money") Julia Roberts would have won her Oscar in the 1990s when everything she churned out was a $100 million slam dunk and Leonardo DiCaprio would have followed suit right about now for a long run of the same incredible trick. Most of Julia's big triumphs were in the popular thriller or romantic comedy genres but Leo seems to be a special case making practically anything (save the dimly lit dim of wit J. Edgar) into a $100 million grosser whether it's a foul-mouthed 3 hour comedy, a mixed review prestigious literary adaptation, or any other genre really. He might be the only mega star who is worth his full asking price given that his marketability doesn't seem to be tied to anything but his beloved creased-brow face. 

Julia and Leo both, who received their first nominations in 1989 and 1993 respectively, both won their fourth nomination for acting this year (One of Leo's five nods is for producing) though their hits far outnumber their Oscar kudos. Let's share our four most favorite performances by each. For me that's like so:

LEO: 1) Gilbert Grape ...followed by a small gap and the rest bunched together... 2) The Departed 3) The Aviator 4) Romeo + Juliet fuzzy memory now but I remember being impressed... does it hold up? Wolf of  & Catch Me would battle it out for fifth but this is a top four. So that battle will remain a draw.
JULIA: 1) Erin Brockovich 2) My Best Friend's Wedding ....followed by a huge gap, then... 3) Pretty Woman 4) Closer


Oscar Isaac and Bruno Delbonnel on the set of "Inside Llewyn Davis"

The other 4 time nominee in their field this year is the cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel nominated for Amelie (2001), A Very Long Engagement (2004), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He recently completed work on Tim Burton's Big Eyes (2014) so maybe he'll be back for a fifth next year? 

Are you rooting for any of these three to win?

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Reader Comments (36)

If I had a ballot I would probably vote for Delbonnel because I love the movie and Lubezki's is clearly winning this year.

LEO: 1) Gilbert Grape 2) The Departed 3) Romeo + Juliet... sorry, I'm not a fan

JULIA: 1) Erin Brockovich 2) My Best Friend's Wedding (no huge gap) 3) Pretty Woman

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

OMG My Best Friend's Wedding! People don't talk about it anymore but I really think Julia, Rupert and Cameron are all fantastic in it, and the screenplay is much smarter than your average rom-com.

"Creme brulee can never be jello...YOU can never be jello!"

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAkash

Leo--Catch Me, Romeo & Juliet, The Beach.

Julia--Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman, the Law and Order spot.

I wouldn't be disappointed if Leo won.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Why does nobody ever mention Julia in 'Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind'? IMO she is pretty fantastic in the film playing a modern day mata hari. I kind of wish she would tackle more sexy roles.

IMO the thing that Julia has always done better than any if her counterparts is have amazing chem with her male co-stars. Whether it's Richard, Clive, Hugh, Rupert, Denzel, Javier, she really sparks onscreen with the men - more than just about any other actress.

1. Closer
2. Erin Brockovich
3. August Osage County
4. Pretty Woman
5. My Best Friend's Wedding
6. Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGenie

Yay lists!

Leo: 1. Catch Me, 2. The Departed, 3. Gilbert Grape (small gap) 4. TWOWS

Julia: 1. Erin, 2. Notting Hill, 3. Closer (HUGE gap), 4. Ocean's 11

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Leo: 1) Catch Me If You Can 2) Gilbert Grape 3) Departed 4) This Boy's Life. As a bonus, the best Leo cameo: Celebrity

Julia: 1) Erin Brockovich 2) August: Osage County 3) Closer 4) My Best Friend's Wedding. Best Julia cameo: The Player

**In a few months I'm hoping to add "The Normal Heart" to Julia's list. I really want her to nail that part.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStan

I didn't even like Julia Roberts until My Best Friend's Wedding. That's when I finally "got" her. Since then I've been a fan and can really appreciate her timing and charisma.

So yes, that means I was immune to her charms in Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman, etc. I saw both in the theater and was unimpressed. And I was the only one I guess. :-)

Since MBFW I have pretty much enjoyed her in everything I've seen. There is something to be said about being the one the camera loves and the audience watches. The rarest gift in Hollywood?

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Never care for either Julia or Leo. But I think both of them gave BY far there Best Performence EVER this year. If it weren't for Bruce Dern ( I think I am the Biggest "Nebraska" fan, anyone?) master work, I think Leo would be my choice to win Best Actor this year.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Leo: 1.) Gilbert Grape 2.) Revolutionary Road 3.) Catch Me if You Can 4.) The Wolf of Wall Street

Julia: 1.) Erin Brockovich 2.) Closer 3.) Duplicity 4.) Pretty Woman

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Julia Roberts has this weird position where every movie she does is less important than her i mean i even loved Julia in eat pray love, it seemed like Julia on a vacation more than a memoir by someone else- i dint even remember tge movie just some scenes with julia in Italy. ( i totally gif'ed her eating spaghetti). i think her best work is where the material can match up her starpower ( duplicity, closer, erin brocovich ) else its the Julia Roberts show ( my best friends wedding and pretty woman aside- they made her the star she is) . But i have to say no one does "i am better than you" or angry rants better than Julia

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRizz

Julia: 1) August: Osage County ; 2) My Best Friend's Wedding (Such a good movie, that ending! "But by God, there will be dancing."); 3) Erin Brockovich; 4) Mona Lisa Smile (I love this movie, and I don't care who knows it).

Leo: 1) Catch Me If You Can; 2) Gilbert Grape; 3) The Wolf of Wall Street; 4) Django Unchained.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I thought Julia was simply terrible in August. Never believed her for one second. So no, I'm not rooting for her.

Leo was good in Wolf, very energetic, but I don't want him to win either when he's up against Ejiofor and Matthew who are far more deserving.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Julia is just sensational in Erin Brockovich. One of my favourite performances of all time. People who say she is better in August: Osage County really confuse me.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe


1. Erin Brockovich
2. Closer
3. August: Osage County
4. My Best Friend's Wedding (love all four)

Leo - and I need to see Gilbert Grape again

1. The Departed
(big gap)
2. Django Unchained
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
(huge gap)
4. This Boy's Life

Funnily enough my absolute favorite movie with Leo in it is Inception, but I thought his acting was one of the least interesting aspects of it. I'd like to see him win this year because it's a decently worthy performance in a major BP nominee that may not win elsewhere, and we won't have to hear complaints in the future that he hasn't won. Julia doesn't need a second Oscar, though I appreciate the nod (though it's clear category fraud).

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

1. My Best Friend's Wedding 2. Erin Brockovich 3. Notting Hill 4. August: Osage County

1. The Wolf of Wall Street 2. Catch Me If You Can 3. The Departed 4. Who's Eating Gilbert Grape?

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I just realized I typed the title of the porn version of "Gilbert Grape."

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

stjeans, Nebraska rules! My second favorite of the year. And I'm continuing my drumbeat: This year we WILL have a tie in Best Actor--Bruce AND Chiwetel for the gold! I just cannot choose.

Now, to the matter at hand...Julia Roberts: 1. Erin Brockovich (I love that she thanked Albert Finney in her Oscar speech!), 2. My Best Friend's Wedding, 3. Closer, 4. August: Osage County

Leo D: 1. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, 2. The Aviator, 3. Revolutionary Road, 4. The Wolf of Wall Street (I also think he's terrific in CMIYC)

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Raul - LOL

brookesboy -- if we have a tie it won't be between those two ;)

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathan--if it's the other two (Bale's out of the running), I'll burn my DVDs of Magic Mike and Titanic LOL

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Not only is Julia terrific in Erin Brockovich, but it's by FAR one of the best "best actress" movies...seriously, I LOVE that movie and every single cast member is on fire. Very well-deserved nominations for best picture, best director, and best supporting actor (I would've easily chosen Albert Finney over Benicio Del Toro that year...like the actor, but never fully understood the praise for Traffic).

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Julia Roberts is my MVP in Closer. I liked Clive Owen a lot, too, but something about her vulnerability and much more subdued role appealed to me the most.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I had no idea Harry Potter 6 was nominated for Best Cinematography back in 2009. Was this considered a surprise nomination?

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I'm not a huge fan of either in that I am not driven to see their films specifically for them. Roberts especially has never given a performance that I think is worthy of an Oscar.

In order:
DiCaprio-The Aviator, Catch Me if You Can, Gilbert Grape, Shutter Island

Roberts-Steel Magnolias, My Best Friend's Wedding, (those are the only two I truly enjoyed but if we must do four) Erin Brockovich and Pretty Woman.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Poor Delbonnel. Most of you only want to talk about movie stars even though he's the genius here. I'd certainly vote for him.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Julia: 1) Erin 2) Notting Hill 3) Closer 4) My Best Friend's Wedding

Leo: 1) Gilbert Grape 2) Romeo and Juliet 3) Wolf of Wall St 4) The Departed

I actually think they're both the best in their categories this year, and would love to see them win

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRich

1) Romeo + Juliet
2) The Wolf of Wall Street
3) Revolutionary Road
4) Gilbert Grape
(small gap)
5) Catch me if you can

1) Closer
2) Erin Brockovich
3) My best friend's wedding
4) August: Osage County
5) a tie between Pretty Woman and... YES, Mary Reilly.
*) And there would be a special mention for "The Pelican Brief" -- it's not a great performance, but I totally fell in love with Julia because of that movie when I was 15 years old...

I admit that I wish Julia was as exigent choosing her movie roles as Leo is. She should be working with better directors. And she should work again with Nichols, Allen and Soderbergh. And she should make a film with Spike Jonze and Tarantino (ehhh... ok, that's only a dream of mine...). In any case, no more "EatPrayLoves" nor "MirrorMirrors", please...

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbonobo

Surprised she got no traction for an against type turn in Closer in 04,a lot of people seem to remember fondly in that role which is still her best imo,you can beat PW for sheer "HERE i AM" star wattage!

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Julia is so great in Erin Brockovich, Closer, August, Confessions. Duplicity, Pretty Woman... but my absolute love is for her performance in MBFW, amazing movie with Julia at her best.

Something to Talk About is another fantastic Julia´s performance that not many remember, even I think she is pretty god in Mary Reilly.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Morgan

Wow, it's nice to see all the love for Julia in "Closer." I've always considered that one of her more underrated performances. Glad I'm not alone on that one.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStan

Roberts: 1) Erin Brockovotch 2) Closer 3) Duplicity 4) Notting Hill

DiCaprio: 1) What's Eating Gilbert Grape? 2) The Wolf of Wall Street 3) Catch Me If You Can 4) The Departed

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Roberts: Notting Hill, Something to Talk About, Duplicity

DiCaprio: Titanic, The Quick and the Dead.

I think they've both been rewarded plenty for their work already in money and awards.

Cinematography- I'm hoping for Luzbecki, although I'm always surprised that these fabulous cinematographers haven't won before.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Like how peeps are citing Julia's performance in Closer, in which she was quite fine, but she was much surpassed by Clive Owens and Natalie Portman, both of whom received awards attention and critic accolades that year (2004). Jude Law - a much under appreciated actor - was at least her equal. And I could see several other actresses of her generation in that role, natch Watts, Kidman, Winslet or even Jennifer Connelly.

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Blanchett was suppose to play Roberts' role in Closer, but she ended up getting pregnant. In comes Julia, and Mike Nichols loved working with her so much that she even said the actors that he's worked with that he holds close to his heart are Meryl and Julia- which is why I wanted him to direct August: Osage County so much.

Julia: 1.Erin Brockovich 2. My Best Friend's Wedding 3. Notting Hill 4. (tie) Closer & Pretty Woman

Leo: 1. Catch me if you can 2. The Wolf of Wall Street 3. The Departed 4. Django Unchained

February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

@Nathaniel--Romeo+Juliet is a great rewatch, especially when you feel like you need to fall in love with Claire, Leo, or Baz again.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB


1. The Wolf of Wall Street
2. The Departed
3. Gilbert Grape
4. Revolutionary Road


1. August: Osage County/ Erin Brockovich
3. My Best Friend´s Wedding
4. Closer
5. Pretty Woman

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaracolillos

MIke -- well, it almost certainly would have been a better movie had he directed it. And considering that 3 of the 4 Meryl performances he directed would be in my top ten of her work... i'm certain he would have elevated her work in August, too. I just don't understand why she doesn't work with better directors. She used to.

February 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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