With the Oscars now done and dusted and Leonardo DiCaprio finally taking one home there was only one topic that myself + Nick & Jakob of JumpCut UK wanted to bring you guys! After 5 acting nominations Leo finally won an Oscar so for our 5th Movie Chat Top 10 we’ve complied a list of our favourite Leonardo DiCaprio performances!
#10. Richard, from ‘The Beach’ (2000)
‘The Beach’ is a film that divides opinion, some people love this effort from Danny Boyle whilst others have a nasty dislike for it. As you can guess from it’s presence on our list we are fans and we think Leo’s performance here was enough to warrant a spot. From enthusiastic young traveler to insane islander Leo’s performance here showcased his abilities well, it’s a shame that his performance is always overlooked due to the divisive nature of the film.
#9. Dominick “Dom” Cobb, from ‘Inception’ (2010)
Where as some of the performances on this list are definitely the best things in the films they are part of here ‘Inception’ is a great film, but not necessarily solely due to Leo’s performance. However, all big blockbusters need a strong leading man and there are few else who could pull this task off as convincingly as Leo did. There’s no doubt that Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic could have been a success with a few other actors in the leading role but DiCaprio leads the films ensemble cast with confidence and great screen presence.
#8. Arnie Grape, from ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ (1993)
The first role to earn Leo an Oscar nomination and probably one that he should have won for sure. Jakob and Nick are still yet to see the film but Hamish can’t give Leo’s performance enough praise, that alone getting his performance as Arnie Grape onto our list! In the film Leo plays Arnie, a character who has developmental disabilities and he does it so impressively. It’s quite something to think that Leo performed so well at such an early stage in his career and life!
#7. Danny Archer, from ‘Blood Diamond’ (2006)
DiCaprio’s third shot at winning the Oscars was a result of his performance as Danny Archer in Blood Diamond. This is a terribly moving film and whilst that is testament to the level of performances from DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, it’s a very narratively driven film, meaning that the performances probably get forgotten about amongst the chaos and heart break caused by the 1990s diamond trade in Sierra Leone. This performance is slightly unusual in that DiCaprio’s character is one we are actively encouraged to dislike to begin with, but by the end normal service is resumed and I must admit I was teary at the end of my very first watch. His performance in Blood Diamond feels like a significant stepping stone to greatness, and it’s certainly one of his most underrated performances but sorry Leo, you’re gonna have to work on that accent if Blood Diamond is going to get any higher on our list…
#6. Frank Abagnale Jr, from ‘Catch Me If You Can’ (2002)
It’s hard to believe that Leo’s portrayal of con-artist Frank Abagnale Jr. in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was more than 13 years ago now; that spritely side to Leo’s acting has been stored away for now in favour of a darker approach. As a bank-robbing teenager with multiple personas, Leo executes a demanding performance on all fronts, and his audacious display here is arguably a foreshadow for that incredible portrayal of Jordan Belfort.
#5. William “Billy” Costigan, from ‘The Departed’ (2006)
2006 was quite possibly the turning point in Leo’s career, where a much darker, more intense Leo started to take over, as undercover cop Billy Costigan in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’. Opposite Jack Nicholson, the man he is destined to become, the greatest actor to ever live (purely subjective), Leo’s edgy performance could well be the best on show and the dynamic between the two is about as intense as you’re likely to find.
#4. Hugh Glass, from ‘The Revenant’ (2016)
Given that this was the performance that rendered hundreds of thousands of memes completely useless, you might be slightly surprised to find DiCaprio’s performance in The Revenant to only get to number 4 on our list. Whilst he’s supported well, this is the definition of a one man show as his character struggles through the cruelty that nature can muster up against him. He went to extreme physical lengths for this role, as did all of the acting and technical crew, but there is a slight sensation of deja vu when watching this performance in that essentially, he just crawls around the floor at different stages of recovery from a bear attack. It’s still a stunning performance, but probably suffers on our list because it’s a relatively new inclusion to his filmography, so we haven’t had the pleasure of sitting down at home and enjoying it multiple times which we’ve done with his other films. All in good time.
#3. Calvin J. Candie, from ‘Django Unchained’ (2012)
Calvin J. Candie is probably the funnest role we’ve seen Leo undertake, well maybe bar our number 1, in Quentin Tarantino’s first western we see Leo try out his villainous side here and the results are awesome. It’s quite something when it’s him who stands out the most in a film featuring Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx – especially as its only a supporting role for Leo. Let’s not forget that scene in which DiCaprio cut his hand on a glass and continued on with the scene despite the fact he was bleeding out!
#2. Teddy Daniels, from ‘Shutter Island’ (2010)
A close second in our list is Leo’s criminally underrated turn in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’, as the troubled U.S Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels. This film is actually in Jakob’s top 10 films of all time, and Leo’s performance is a big reason for that; a performance which is arguably his most layered and enigmatic. Leo’s emotive display fuels the ambiguity of the film’s central issue – is he crazy or isn’t he? If you like your Leo dark, look no further.
#1. Jordan Belfort, from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013)
Our best Leo performance of all time is the one that most people agreed he deserved that little golden statue for. It is of course his performance as multi-millionaire, Wall Street extraordinaire and all round not so nice guy (but somehow likeable) Jordan Belfort. I think the film industry was a little taken aback when he didn’t win for this performance because whilst the film itself wasn’t quite to everyone’s tastes, there was nobody that could deny this is Leo at his brilliant best. What’s your evidence I hear you say? Look no further then ‘that’ Ludes scene, which is one of the most hilarious and disturbing 5 minutes of cinema you will ever see. It’s made all the more impressive given that it’s completely improvised (in fact he’s quite the improv specialist as its also recorded that the famous “I’m the king of the world” line from Titanic, which was voted as the 4th most iconic line in cinema, was also completely improvised). Whilst this performance is probably the closest to what we imagine Leo’s life is actually like away from the cameras, his performance in Scorsese’s film is his best to date, but let’s not stop there please…
So that’s our list but we want to know what your favourite Leonardo DiCaprio performance is!? Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over on our twitter accounts!
Written and edited by Nick Deal, Jakob Lewis Barnes & Hamish Calvert