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.