Ignore the Bookies, It Could Be Leonardo DiCaprio's Year at the Oscars
Leonardo DiCaprio will be unlucky to lose out on the Oscar for best actor, for 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.
Let's ignore the bookmakers' predictions for this Sunday's Oscars (March 2, 2014). The people who devise these odds have not seen the movies and base their prices on critics' reviews and public opinion of movies, actors and actresses. The McConnaissance - see Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, Wolf of Wall Street and True Detective - has left bookmakers quaking in their boots and reducing Matthew McConaughey's odds of winning best actor to 1/9. It's true that his portrayal of Ron Woodruff is probably the best of his career, though the Texan is way off being considered a nailed certainty on to win the award.
Will Jonah Hilll [L] Be Congratulating Leonardo DiCaprio [R] At The Oscars?
Consider the alternatives: we've got Chiwetel Ejiofor, the star of the finest movie of the year, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. History suggests that when a movie gains a momentum at the Oscars, it can rattle through the categories taking awards that it probably had no right to win. Nobody would complain should Ejiofor take best actor on Sunday anyway, though McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio could find themselves with little chance if the Academy has voted for 12 Years in the same way it took to The King's Speech and The Artist.
This week we learnt that Google had assessed the Oscar nominees and used search trends to effectively 'predict' the winners. Leonardo DiCaprio was the recipient of best actor for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. Sure, the search analytics is a silly way of gauging how the Academy may have voted though what it does show is that DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort was likely the most talked about performance of the five this year. In fact, it definitely was.
Benedict Cumberbatch [L] with Oscar Nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor [R] in '12 Years a Slave'
It's no secret that DiCaprio has had some painful experiences at the Academy Awards, though it's also clear on each occasion there was a stronger performance than his own. In 1994, Ralph Fiennes for Schindler's List and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive trumped DiCaprio's turn in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, while his performance in Blood Diamond was never really strong enough to beat Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. Jamie Foxx's Ray Charles was the big winner in 2005, leaving DiCaprio's turn in The Aviator consigned to the history books as another consistent turn by the actor.
However, this year is different. It's a strong best actor category - probably the strongest in years - though it can be genuinely argued that McConuaghey, Ejiofor, DiCapro, Christian Bale for American Hustle and Bruce Dern for Nebraska have delivered career highlight performances and are all truly deserving of the nomination. Perhaps DiCaprio will have to wait for a more favourable category to win his Oscar though one thing's for sure: his performance as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street would be considered one of the great turns never to have won the golden statuette should be remain fixed in his seat on Sunday.