Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the nominees for best actor in this year’s Academy Awards. His nomination is for his lead role in The Wolf of Wall Street, a film I haven’t seen yet. DiCaprio was in two of my favourite films of 2013, Django in Chains and The Great Gatsby.

The first film I saw Leonardo DiCaprio in was What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, where he played a young teenager with learning difficulties. I’m guessing he was only 14 or 15 at the time, but it was a very good performance which deservedly gained him an Oscar nomination. He has since gone on to act in dozens of films, including the blockbusting Titanic in the mid-1990s, also Catch me if you Can, Romeo and Juliet, The Aviator, Gangs of New York and Revolutionary Road.

I was trying to think of which I would consider his best performance, and I’ve decided that for me it was in the 2006 film Blood Diamond. If you haven’t seen this film then I highly recommend it. The story is set in Sierra Leone in 1999 during that country’s civil war which raged from 1996 to 2001. Although the characters are fictional, the story is based on real events going on at that time in Sierra Leone and in the diamond trade.


DiCaprio plays Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler and gunrunner, originally from Zimbabwe (which he keeps referring to by its pre-independence name Rhodesia). Archer smuggles diamonds from Sierra Leone into neighbouring Liberia so that they can be sold in London’s diamond trade. On one occasion he gets caught, and is put in jail in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, Solomon Vandy (played by Djimon Hounsou), a fisherman from Shenge, a small village to the south of Freetown, is captured by the Revolutionary United Front, who are fighting a guerrilla war to overthrow the Sierra Leone Government. Vandy and the other captured men are forced to mine for diamonds, which are used by the rebels to fund their war against the Government.

Sierra Leone is a west African country bordered by Guinea to the North and East, Liberia to the South and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.

Sierra Leone is a west African country bordered by Guinea to the North and East, Liberia to the South and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.

The warlord overseeing Vandy’s mining gang is Captain Poison (played by David Harewood), a particularly harsh and brutal man. One day Vandy discovers a large diamond, but rather than hand it over to Captain Poison he buries it. Captain Poison suspects he has done this, and they get into a brutal fight. But they are both caught by Government forces and put into the same prison cell in Freetown as Danny Archer. This is where Archer and Vandy meet, and it is where Archer learns of the diamond’s existence.

Archer promises Vandy to help him find his family which has been torn apart by the civil war, in return for Vandy giving him the diamond. The other remaining main character in the film is Maddy Bowen (played by Jennifer Connelly), a reporter who is writing about this illegal diamond trade and is willing to help both men if she can write their story and expose this trade to the wider World.

Not only is Blood Diamond an excellent film with a compelling and powerful story; but, for me, this film has DiCaprio’s most accomplished performance. To my inexpert ear, even his Southern African accent seems pretty convincing. He won an Oscar nomination for his performance, but did not win. Here is the trailer for the film.

Which is your favourite Leonardo DiCaprio film?

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Tonight (Sunday the 24th of February) is the 85th Academy Awards (Oscars), and Daniel Day-Lewis stands on the threshold of history. He is nominated in the best actor category for his role as Lincoln in the movie of the same name. Should he win he will become the first male actor in the 84 year history of the Academy Awards to win the best actor category Oscar 3 times.


Currently eight other actors have won two best actor awards, including Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Gary Cooper and Tom Hanks. But none has ever won three times. Tom Hanks actually came very close to not only winning three, but winning three in a row. He won best actor for Philadelphia in 1993, and for Forrest Gump in 1994, and the following year played the lead role in Apollo 13, but was not nominated.

Day-Lewis won his first Oscar in 1989 for playing the role of paraplegic Christy Brown in My Left Foot. He won his second Oscar in 2007 for playing Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (which I have not seen). I have, however, seen Day-Lewis in many other memorable roles, including My Beautiful Laundrette, A Room With A View, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Last of the Mohicans and In The Name of the Father.

What is your favourite Daniel Day-Lewis film?


Day-Lewis did win and so has made history. I saw Lincoln this week, and have to say it is a superb film. Day-Lewis’ performance is mesmerising.

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