Why is Leonardo DiCaprio frequently snubbed for Best Picture Oscar nominees?

Given his track record, we probably should have guessed that “Django Unchained” would be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars but that Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn’t receive a corresponding Best Supporting Actor bid. Though he has been nominated three times before, this is the fifth time he has been snubbed for his performance in a Best Picture nominee.

Many were surprised in 1997 when DiCaprio wasn’t nominated for “Titanic”; the blockbuster romance tied the record for the most nominations (14) and went on to win 11, including Best Picture. What’s more, two actresses were nominated for playing his on-screen love interest: Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart.

In 2002 he starred in “Gangs of New York,” his first of several films with director Martin Scorsese, but the lion’s share of acclaim went to his co-star Daniel Day-Lewis, who had a showier role as villainous Bill the Butcher and was nominated for Best Actor instead.

Scorsese finally won the Best Director Oscar in 2006 for “The Departed,” which also won Best Picture, but DiCaprio didn’t go along for the ride. He wasn’t completely overlooked that year, though; he didn’t make the cut for “The Departed,” but received a Best Actor nomination for “Blood Diamond.”

Most recently, DiCaprio headlined Christopher Nolan’s 2010 sci-fi thriller “Inception,” a blockbuster hit that earned eight nominations, including Best Picture, but unfortunately for DiCaprio none of those nominations were for acting.

There was one exception to DiCaprio’s Best Picture curse. His second collaboration with Scorsese was “The Aviator” (2004), in which he played the title character, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. The film was up for Best Picture, and he was nominated for Best Actor, though the Oscar went to his eventual “Django” co-star Jamie Foxx for “Ray.”

DiCaprio has two high-profile films opening in 2013, both potential awards contenders – Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and Baz Luhrmann‘s “The Great Gatsby” – which means he’ll have two more chances not to be nominated for a Best Picture contender.

26 thoughts on “Why is Leonardo DiCaprio frequently snubbed for Best Picture Oscar nominees?

  1. It’s because the academy hate massively commercial actors which DiCaprio is. To be honest, the academy are becoming a joke now, passing over an obviously amazing actor (DiCaprio) for sub standard actors. It’s blindingly obvious that they do have an issue with him, and I am guessing it is his massive commercial popularity… I doubt he cares though, as he has a blessed life and an amazing career, and literally 10s of millions of loyal fans. 🙂

  2. I have to agree with Jay. Leo DiCaprio is very overrated and find the movies that he has been nominated for where well deserved, but do not think any of them were worth a win. Out of his three nominations the only one I thought he might of stood a chance was his nomination for The Aviator, which he lost to Jamie Foxx. Yes! I do believe Foxx was the more deserving of the award.

  3. Leo deserved top honors on so many occasions i can’t even count. He is an amazingly talented and for The Aviator alone deserved to win. i stopped watching those fake, political award shows….like everything else, it’s about money and obviously not talent. No way was Fox deserving of the win, no way. i am sure that Leo has been around long enough to know which way the wind blows in Hollywood….after all, how long did it take for Martin Scorsese to be honored, or Al Pacino or Denzel…Leo is up there with the very best and i don’t need any academy to tell me that.

  4. Personally I can’t understand why ,or anyone who is admiring of his significant talent as an actor ,would concern themselves as to whether Leo is nominated by the Academy or any other award event

    Leo already has his pick and choice of top scripts, roles, and directors.

    He already commands top salary and can negotiate lucrative front /back end deals.

    He always has the respect of his peers.

    And winning any of these awards can’t make Leo anymore famous than he already is, he is already
    a worldwide known actor .

  5. This is insane logic. For most of Oscar’s history, there were only five Best Pic nominees. In recent years, it’s expanded to ten. It’s unlikely Inception or Django would’ve secured a Best Pic nomination otherwise, which means they don’t count as “real” snubs. Furthermore, the year The Departed won Best Pic, DiCaprio was nommed for Blood Diamond. Since you can’t be nominated twice in the same category the same year, of COURSE he was snubbed for Departed. But he wasn’t “snubbed” per se: rather, the Blood Diamond nom displaced the Departed nom he’d otherwise receive. You aren’t thinking this through: there is no hate for DiCaprio in the Academy. Only two of these five are genuine, bona fide “snubs” (and that’s not atypical at all: Anthony Hopkins, to take a random instance, was in three Best Pic nominees, The Lion in Winter, The Elephant Man, and Howard’s End, for which he did not receive a nomination himself. That happens all the time. Doesn’t mean they have some vendetta against Hopkins. Hopkins was also nominated for movies – Nixon, Amistad – that did NOT get Best Pic recognition. That’s how it goes.)

  6. He’s just not that good. How about that reason? He was nominated for his best work and it should be left at that. When he does something worthier than others, then he will be nominated again. But I just didn’t think he was that good in Titanic, The Departed, Inception, Gangs of New York, et al.

  7. Dicaprio’s best performance thus far was nearly twenty years ago in Gilbert Grape. One for the ages. He hasn’t done anything that has come close to that. (Though, he was good in The Departed) Most of his roles blend together for me, though. He needs to pay a drug addict or something. Has he already? He’s better when he plays younger. I think he would be great as a neurotic mess. I mean a trainwreck. Something unhinged, completely out of his comfort zone. I always get the feeling he’s trying to impress people and live up to a certain image. Knock it off Leo and throw us a curveball. I know you can do it.

    My two cents.

    My two cents.

  8. While Leonardo DiCaprio may have gone without an Oscar nomination for 5 Best Picture nominees he starred in, there are a few other actors and actresses worth mentioning: Cate Blanchett has also appeared in 5 BP nominees without acting nominations, Elizabeth Taylor appeared in 6, John Cazale was in 6 (and was never nominated at all in his career), Ward Bond was in 11 (also no career nominations), but the all-time record holder that is unlikely to ever be beaten is held by Bess Flowers, who also never had a single nomination for her career. But poor DiCaprio. How dare his co-stars (Kate Winslet, Gloria Stuart, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cate Blanchett, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Shannon, and Christoph Waltz) all out-act him, and steal the show away from him, especially since he deservedly makes more money than all of them combined. Can’t quite understand why the Academy doesn’t nominate him for every movie he puts out, or why they aren’t rushing to give him an award.

  9. Do you get the feeling that he’s trying too hard and playing it too safe? I mean he picks projects that are sure Oscar nominees/Oscar material. I’d like to see him go with indie films or smaller productions or something satirical — basically do something different.

  10. Vince, what do you call shutter island?? that is often overlooked because of Inception. He was brilliant in shutter island and i believe he played a completely insane neurotic mess in that one. fantastic movie for those who haven’t seen it

  11. This thread is really full of nonsense. First of all: the cliché that DiCaprio is “trying to hard” – no other actor is accused of NOT phoning it in. And playing it safe? A young blonde 6-footer deciding to take on Hoover the old bulldog – is that playing it safe? A slaveowner throwing the n-word around – is that your typical Oscar bait?
    I certainly don´t think he should have been nominated for GONY or INCEPTION, but it´s silly to suggest that he was out-acted in The Departed! His performance was absolutely riveting. Wahlberg was funny, no more, no less. Nor was he out-acted in Django Unchained. All the actors were fantastic, including LEAD actor Christoph Waltz. But no-one was more impressive than DiCaprio, playing against character.
    Leonardo DiCaprio has definitely been short-changed by The Academy, and as time goes by I´m sure more and more people will come to that conclusion.

  12. I can’t understand it myself — I was truly baffled why he didn’t get a nod for Revolutionary road and truthfully he was robbed for The Aviator.

  13. if i ‘m leonardo i wouldn’t go to that stupid oscars in the future after no nom for catch me & gangs of new york & that legend film the departed & finaly django . they are youngers to control the oscars fuck them at all

  14. I think they are overlooking a truly great actor in some very challenging roles for far less talented or challenging choices. He seems to go these snubs with great poise and grace, and is still one of Hollywoods finest. Nothing against Daniel Day Lewis, he too is fantastic.

  15. “He needs to pay a drug addict or something. Has he already? He’s better when he plays younger. I think he would be great as a neurotic mess. I mean a trainwreck. Something unhinged, completely out of his comfort zone.”

    Yeah, he has done it actually in 1995 with The Basketball Diaries.

  16. I think there is something that goes beyond what we know. who knows? an argument with one of the members of the academy? Something, something. It is not a a coincidence that he does not get nominated when he is such a wonderful actor. Honestly, he should have been the best actor on Titanic and was not even nominated. There is absolutely something, something… I wish I could ask him.

  17. this is soo annoying. leo is an amazingggg actor. there are some shady deals going on in hollywood. he must have really pissed someone off, or maybe he isn’t letting them control him like the other celebrities. i hate it when good people come in last, so annoying. i love him, i wish i could help 🙁

  18. Maybe he is too young to receive an Oscar, to be honest, I don’t trust this ceremony. Personally, I think there are huge financial interests, as everywhere else. Leonardo is a huge actor, maybe the best actor of the last 10 years, but as long as he is not willing to cooperate with the powers that be, he will always be underrated.

    He is not the typical Hollywood cliche’ and this is not acceptable in their world. I hope I’m wrong, though.

  19. Leonardo is the best actor in the world period. His role in shutter island was beyond phenomenal. He plays his characters flawlessly. Notice in Shutter Island how he has nervous tics where he clench his face. To go even deeper, Leo studies his role for months trying to learn every detail of his character. The fact that Jammie Fox won the oscar for Django the most anti-white movie in the world, baffles me. Jammie Fox is an idol worshiping fool who couldn’t play a side role in a spongebob episode. Leo is the best EVER. Anyone who understands good cinematography would agree.

  20. Oscar’s politics–nothing but horse shit!! Everything is rigged! Academy should just take those oscar statues out of their asses!!!

  21. Like everyone else I’m surprised he has not won an Oscar already. He’s the best – and I mean the VERY best – actor around today. That he didn’t get an award for Revolutionary Road or Catch Me if You Can shames the Academy.

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