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2014 Oscars: Why Leonardo DiCaprio Didn’t Win Best Actor

After watching the 2014 Academy Awards, all of my social media blew up with friends’ posts expressing their anger over the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio lost in the Best Actor category to Matthew McConaughey. However, it’s not very hard to understand why our dear Leo was once again overlooked by the Academy. I feel that this award was decided based on the character these individuals played with a toss in of the actor’s talent, just to make it look like it was a competition. There is no rule criterion on how Academy members are supposed to vote when picking the winners of each award. It is simply based on their own personal opinions. According to the rules written and established by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “Final voting for the acting awards shall be restricted to active and life Academy members.”

We all know Matthew McConaughey for his roles as the hot male love interest in various chick flicks like How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days and The Wedding Planner. It was not until lately that he began to take on more serious acting roles like Mick Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer. With his track record of non-serious roles, it should have been no surprise that this was his first Oscar nomination for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. In order to portray the role of the homophobic electrician who upon receiving his own positive diagnosis of HIV, helps to obtain drugs for other HIV positive patients in 1985 Dallas. To play the role, McConaughey lost 30 pounds and abstained from sun exposure.

What I think makes his portrayal of Ron Woodroof so great is that McConaughey recognizes that his character is not really actually trying to help other HIV positive individuals, but is basically looking out for himself and trying to survive. Even though this was Matthew McConaughey’s first Oscar nomination, many feel that he did not deserve to win over Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, his acting was fantastic, but I also believe that because of the gravity and seriousness of the role, especially with the association with HIV/AIDS, that the social issues presented in the film also played a major role as to why Matthew McConaughey won the Oscar.

And then, there is our dear friend, Leonardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for Best Actor a total of three times for his roles in Blood Diamond, The Aviator, and The Wolf Of Wall Street and Best Supporting Actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Throughout the course of his career our friend Leo has yet to win an Oscar, and everyone, including myself, thought he would win for his portrayal of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf Of Wall Street. However, once again the Academy snubbed Leo. DiCaprio’s role however, did not carry that same social justice aspect that Matthew McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club did and I believe that is the exact reason why Leonardo DiCaprio did not win.

Hollywood has become a place where messages and platforms for various social justice issues are becoming more common each day, and where the arts are now becoming a method to protest these injustices and to raise awareness to these issues. I personally do not disagree with the Academy and I do feel that Leonardo DiCaprio did deserve to win an Oscar. I hope one day soon he will finally have his talent recognized and get his little gold statue.  

Hi, my name is Hilary. I am a graduate student at The Florida State University, studying Urban and Regional Planning. I completed my undergraduate studies in International Affairs. I am very interested in global issues and plan to join the Peace Corps in 2014. I enjoy spending time with friends, music, movies, and following my favorite sports teams.
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