Leonardo DiCaprio has taken a leap forward in his quest for his first Oscar, with a Golden Globes win for his intense performance as a 19th century fur trapper in “The Revenant.”
All eyes in Hollywood are now on the Oscar nominations, to be announced on Thursday, to see if the “Titanic” star scores his fifth nomination for an acting role as widely expected.
The 41-year-old DiCaprio won for best actor in a drama at the star-studded Globes ceremony on Sunday that also saw “The Revenant” win for best director and best motion picture drama.
Pundits seem to agree that while the race to the Academy Awards on February 28 remains open in most categories, including for best picture, DiCaprio’s quest for the golden statuette that has eluded him so far seems on track.
“I think DiCaprio looks like a slam dunk,” said Scott Feinberg, awards columnist for trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t see him losing.”
Feinberg explained that DiCaprio “has had the misfortune in the past of being great in years when other people were having their greatest year.”
Indeed, the actor has lost out to some powerhouse actors in their prime: Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Forest Whitaker for “The Last King of Scotland,” Jamie Foxx in “Ray” and Tommy Lee Jones in “The Fugitive.”
“But this year, it doesn’t look like there is that one other person challenging him,” Feinberg told AFP.
The Globes win “puts a little wind behind his sails for the next round just because of the attention that he gets,” he said.
Matt Damon could be his top rival at the moment — he took home the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy for space blockbuster “The Martian” — the other big winner on Sunday, with a victory for best comedy film.
– Globes offer clue –
Feinberg pointed out that while there was unanimous agreement on DiCaprio’s Oscar chances, the Globes could not be considered a bellwether for the Academy Awards overall, leaving the race wide open.
“There are only 82 people from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association voting for the Golden Globes while 6,200 vote for the Oscars, and all of them are associated with the actual making of film,” Feinberg said.
Experts point out that neither of last year’s Globes best picture winners — “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — ended up with an Oscar.
Instead, the Academy Award went to “Birdman,” directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who is also behind “The Revenant.”
“Really, it’s impossible to call any film the pacesetter now,” wrote Glenn Whipp, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times.
Still, industry observers agree that the Globes can generate buzz for certain films — and thus influence voting among the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“Room” star Brie Larson took home the coveted prize for best actress in a drama for her searing turn as a mother in captivity with her young son — clearly giving her an edge for Thursday.
In the supporting actor category, Globe winner Sylvester Stallone is expected to ride a wave of popular support for “Creed,” in which he reprised his iconic role of boxer Rocky Balboa, straight to an Oscars nod.
In the best picture category, a pair of films seen as Globes favorites fell flat on Sunday, but are still expected to earn some Oscar nominations.
“Spotlight,” about journalists from The Boston Globe who uncovered sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, went home empty-handed on Sunday despite three nominations.
And “The Big Short,” based on a book about the financial crisis of 2007-2008, was also snubbed, going zero for four.