It's looking like 2016 is the year that Leonardo DiCaprio might finally win that golden statuette. After putting himself through hell and back for his performance in historical action-adventure The Revenant — including eating raw bison liver, enduring freezing temperatures and sleeping in animal carcasses — what more can the man do, really?!
Rather than resting on his early success, Leo has continued to work and challenge himself time and again. Although an Oscar win has so far eluded him, he has picked up 76 other prestigious awards along the way, and with the Oscars just around the corner, we thought it apt to take a look at some of his greatest movie performances, starting at the very beginning...
1. 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' (1993)
One of Leo's earliest films tells the story of Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) caring for his obese mother and mentally challenged brother Arnie (Leo) in a sleepy Midwestern town. One of the greatest things about the movie is Leo himself, who approaches his part sensitively and yet with conviction. The novel adaptation earned him his first Oscar nomination, showing that the then-19-year-old had a very promising career ahead.
See one of the most heartwarming scenes from the film in the clip below:
2. 'Romeo + Juliet' (1996)
Leo starred opposite Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann's modern take on the classic Shakespearian play, set in fictional Verona Beach and served with a side of gang culture. The strong chemistry between Leo and Danes truly made this movie and enabled both of them to give outstanding performances. Leo also looks pretty amazing in this film, helping to lay the groundwork for his heartthrob status that was cemented by Titanic the following year.
Here are some of the star-crossed lovers' greatest moments in the movie:
3. 'Titanic' (1997)
James Cameron's award-winning epic romantic disaster film was the most expensive movie of its time, costing $200 million and taking more than a year to complete. The now-famous story of Jack and Rose aboard the doomed RMS Titanic was actually dismissed by a lot of people before the film was released. Yes, an audacious lower-class boy falling for a discontented upper-class girl is pretty cheesy — but Leo and Kate bring so much genuine emotion that it's hard to not fall with them. Talked about and celebrated even to this day, Titanic was without a doubt the high point of Leo's career.
Watch that flying scene in the clip below:
4. 'The Aviator' (2004)
Fast forward to the noughties, which saw Leo not only star in this biopic but also serve as the executive producer. Director Martin Scorsese looks at the early years of millionaire inventor Howard Hughes, a role in which Leo is able to merge undeniable charisma with a mad perfectionism so common in high achievers. His role as the ambitious, compulsive businessman truly proved his versatility and brought in a second Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe win.
See Leo brilliantly acting out an anxiety attack in this clip from the film:
5. 'The Departed' (2006)
Although Leo wasn't nominated himself, Scorsese finally won an Oscar for his work on this Boston crime thriller, which was actually a remake of a Hong Kong thriller from 2002, Infernal Affairs. Leo plays a cop infiltrating an Irish-American mob, but he becomes lost and quite desperate along the way. He appears alongside an all-star cast including Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg. The complex and captivating story makes this movie a must-see and shows Leo at his absolute best.
Here he is alongside fellow acting legend Jack Nicholson in a bar scene:
6. 'Blood Diamond' (2006)
2006 was a big year for Leo, with the release of not only The Departed but also this brilliant political war thriller set during the Sierra Leone Civil War. He plays a Rhodesian gunrunner who partners with an enslaved Mende fisherman, agreeing to return him to his family in exchange for a huge diamond. The film brings much-needed awareness to the corruption behind the African diamond trade, and Leo and supporting actor Djimon Hounsou play so well off each other that both of them scored an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
Hear Leo's widely applauded Rhodesian accent in the clip below:
7. 'Shutter Island' (2010)
In Leo's fourth collaboration with Scorsese, he portrays another character plagued with obsession, in this instance an investigator looking into the disappearance of an enigmatic inmate at an asylum. This neo-noir psychological thriller shows Leo at his most vulnerable, and as he digs deeper into the case, his own character comes into question. His ability to keep the audience engaged as he cracks himself open is truly an achievement to be proud of.
Watch that all-important final scene below (spoiler alert):
8. 'Inception' (2010)
Leo takes on the challenge of invading people's dreams and manipulating their thoughts as Dom Cobb in Christopher Nolan's groundbreaking sci-fi thriller. Considering the complexity and general unconventionality of the plot, Inception should never really have been a hit, but smart dialogue and breathtaking visuals paired with Leo's remarkable performance are what made it a success. The underlying focus really is Cobb's battle with his own demons, and Leo's compassionate approach to the rule contributes to one of his surprisingly saddest movies to date.
Try to get your head around the dreamworld as Cobb explains it in this clip:
9. 'Django Unchained' (2012)
In Quentin Tarantino's controversial Western, Leo finds himself playing the arrogant-yet-alluring slave-owner Calvin Candie, managing to bring an element of graciousness to Candie's cruel, almost demented character. The man breeds slaves to fight one another and at his core is pretty much a savage psychopath, yet Leo somehow manages to make him quite affable. This movie really is a career highlight, and many were surprised when he failed to pick up a single award for his role. The Academy owes him one!
See some of Leo's finest moments from the film in the clip below:
10. 'The Great Gatsby' (2013)
Back with director Baz Luhrmann, Leo took on the leading role of Jay Gatsby in the most recent film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel. Although the tale is told as more of a love story than it's really supposed to be, Leo's undeniable charm turns the movie up a notch. Before The Great Gatsby, it had been more than a decade since we'd seen Leo's romantic side and, although brief, it was lovely to see him show us that he still has a heart in there somewhere.
See the whimsical Leo we all love in the clip of his first meeting with Daisy below:
11. 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' (2013)
Leo's role in this racy biopic earned him his fourth Oscar nomination and saw him as stock-market guru and financial peddler Jordan Belfort. The Wolf Of Wall Street is a slightly bizarre combination of both epic drama and rather musical narrative, but it contains some of Leo's greatest moments. He really captures the spirited, take-no-prisoners attitude that Jordan was famous for and much of the film is just Scorsese letting Leo loose and watching him go.
Watch one of Jordan's dynamic speeches in this clip:
12. 'The Revenant' (2015)
And so that brings us to this year's potential Oscar win — The Revenant. The movie is partially based on Michael Punke's novel of the same name and inspired by the experiences of frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leo) in 1823. Abandoned by his faithless friends and pretty angry about it, he somehow finds the strength to crawl 200 miles on a quest for revenge. Leo apparently put himself through hell for this role. But was it worth it?
Watch the trailer for The Revenant here:
With a career spanning almost 30 years, Leo has proven his talent, dramatic diversity, and his romantic roles in movies have also turned him into a bit of a pin-up. Having already picked up a Golden Globe AND a BAFTA so far in 2016, it's certainly looking like this could be his year.
Leo is up against Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) in the Best Actor category. Find out how he gets on by watching the 88th Academy Awards this Sunday February 28 at 8.30pm on ABC.