It’s irresponsible. Sometime last year, months before anyone even saw
The Revenant, we decided that DiCaprio was destined to win the Oscar. He’s been nominated four times before this, after all, and it’s “his turn.” This is what we call lazy punditry, judging an actor’s performance on reputation and narrative alone (but it was SO COLD in Canada!). This is not to say that DiCaprio’s performance isn’t Oscar-worthy, but building a campaign around petulance is an insult to his acting. The whole point of the Best Actor Oscar is to judge each performance on its own merits, not to reward an actor for how much suffering he is perceived to have experienced over their career.
Sure, DiCaprio is the favorite to win, and I won’t begrudge him for it either. But to act like it’s some sort of horrific injustice that he has, at the still-tender age of 41, never won an Oscar overvalues the award. There are many, many legendary actors who went to their graves without a golden statuette: Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Peter O’Toole, and Richard Burton, for starters. Then there’s Glenn Close, Albert Finney, Warren Beatty, and Angela Lansbury who are all still awaiting “their turns.” Alan Rickman, who died today at 69, was never even nominated. That doesn’t diminish their legacies. If Leo doesn’t win on Feb. 28, it won’t diminish his either.