I finally saw The Revenant this weekend. The Oscars are coming up, after all, and I figured I'd try to squeeze in as many of the Best Picture nominees as possible in order to be properly outraged when my favorites get snubbed on the big night. I knew going in that this was a movie built upon the loose placeholderpremise of Leonardo DiCaprio, a bear, and roughly 2.5 hours of the most graphic human suffering imaginable. I'll be honest; I left the theater wishing I had seen Zoolander 2 instead. I bet nobody had to sleep in a horse carcass in Zoolander 2.
At the end of the day, though, I must aplaceholderdmit that DiCaprio's acting was second to none. To say nothing of the physical and mental endurance he brought to life in The Revenant, I can't help but admire the guy for the level of personal dedication and perseverance he's applied throughout his film career. The lessons about resilience he can teach us goplaceholder beyond what his character Hugh Glass endured onscreen.
As every entertainment rag gleefully reminds us whenever the Oscars roll around, Leonardo DiCaprio has never won an Academy Award,placeholder despite having played some of the most iconic and memorable roles in the last 25 years of cinema.
Not for What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Not for The Aviator. Not for Blood Diamond. Not for The Wolf of Wall Street. No, each and every time, Leo sat there in the crowd, all the cameras trained on him, millions of people watching, and listened, not once, not twice, not three times, but four times as the Academy Award went to Someone Else.
I mean, can you even imagine? I get embarrassed if one person and their dog watch me stumble as I'm walking down the sidewalk. To lose so publicly and have the experience dissected under the unforgiving microscope of celebrity seems like the stuff of nightmares.
I know there are people out there who would be angry, bitter, and discouraged. A lesser actor or human might have been tempted to throw in the towel and just hole up in the British Virgin Islands with whatever model s/he happened to be dating.
Not Leonardo DiCaprio. After every single snub, my man went and acted in something better. Took on something even more challenging. Worked harder. Worked longer. Ate raw bison liver (yes, that scene was real, and so was Leo's nauseated reaction).
Of his experience filming The Revenant, DiCaprio has said, "The hardest thing for me was getting in and out of frozen rivers. Because I had elk skin on and a bear fur that weighed about 100 pounds when it got wet. And every day it was a challenge not to get hypothermia." Elk skin. Hypothermia. Eating gross things in numbers that would put Fear Factor to shame. Leonardo DiCaprio has actually transcended the whole winning/losing thing and has elevated himself to a level of his craft that few ever reach.
This is the lesson we can all learn from Leo: When you lose big--and we all do at some point, at the Oscars or not--pretend you didn't, and then continue working your ass off. Find your frozen river, suit up in that elk skin, and keep jumping in over and over again. Eat that raw bison liver. Be a Leo, and do it for yourself.
I'm not the betting type, but I have a pretty good feeling DiCaprio will take home that statue on Sunday evening. And he deserves it.