In honor of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which arrives in theatres everywhere on Friday May 10th, I decided to dedicate this month's list to the best performances by the film's leading star, Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio, who has been nominated three times but never won an Oscar, landed himself atop my blog's list of "The Best Actors of My Generation" (back in 2010). Although he's been unrecognized on the biggest stage possible, it goes without question that MANY people view DiCaprio as an elite actor. While I highly doubt that The Great Gatsby will help Leo grab that first golden statue, let's remember the fine cinematic performances of his well established career.
*** View April's Movie List of the Month HERE
Honorable Mention: The Aviator, Revolutionary Road and Inception
The Top 5 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances
#5. Django Unchained (2012)
If you weren't excited about seeing Leonardo play a villain in Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western Django Unchained, you're just lying to yourself. The outcome was spectacular! Leo certainly didn't disappoint and he'll always be remembered for his hammer and skull scene.
#4. The Departed (2006)
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, as Martin Scorsese's The Departed is one of my favorite films of all time. However, I thought that DiCaprio was utterly brilliant as the undercover officer sent in to infiltrate a crime syndicate. Always appearing uneasy on screen and scared for his life, Leo made Billy Costigan one hell of a believable character.
#3. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Another fantastic role from Leonardo DiCaprio came in the form of Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can. Leo stole the show as Frank Abagnale Jr. (alongside another timeless performance from perhaps the greatest actor alive, Tom Hanks), a runaway teenager who scams just about everyone and their mother by forging checks.
#2. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
DiCaprio dazzled audiences, even at a young age, which his first Oscar-Nominated role in Lasse Hallstrom's What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Playing the mentally disabled Arnie Grape, Leo showed off his acting chops and set the tone for what has become a remarkable (and quite unfinished) career.
#1. Blood Diamond (2006)
Back in 2006, Leonardo DiCaprio dished out his finest onscreen performance ever in Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond. Leo stars as a diamond smuggler named Danny Archer who makes a pact with a fisherman whose family has been torn apart. Archer promises to help the man find his family in exchange for the location of a priceless diamond. Nominated for the turn, DiCaprio portrays an extremely multi-dimensional character that the entire audience grows to love and admire. What a performance!
Whether you agree or disagree with my list, feel free to comment below. Also, stay tuned for tomorrow when guest columnist and Reel True owner Greg Rouleau offers his review on DiCaprio's latest feature, The Great Gatsby.