Saturday, 22 January 2011

Best Actor 2004: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator

Leonardo DiCaprio received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Howard Hughes in The Aviator. 

The Aviator is a very good biography picture of Howard Hughes because it focuses on specific moments of Hughes' life rather trying to fit his whole story, which I find is a failing of many similar films.

Leonardo DiCaprio is usually a charming, and very energetic screen presence.  This is true for his performance as Howard Hughes which is an incredibly challenge role. He uses his usually charm in the right way though, and does adjust it to fit Hughes' personality, which makes him change it to a sort of a quiet charm. He is never obviously trying to be charming in his romantic scenes at all, DiCaprio makes it clear that Hughes simply just asserts himself in command, even when he looks like he is not trying to do this. DiCaprio is perfect in showing Hughes' quiet determination in a fashion that fits Hughes perfectly.

DiCaprio properly loses his charm though throughout the film though as Howard Hughes' obsessive compulsive disorder slowly gets the better of him. DiCaprio handles the disorder very well, and how it causes Howard's disintegration. DiCaprio handles the small indications at first, as something clearly effecting Hughes inside, but outwardly it seems just an odd quirk that Hughes does. Later though a minor dirty spot can cause Howard just to stare at it until it is gone, and DiCaprio makes this a really problem that effects Hughes so much he is almost unable to function because of something so minor.

DiCaprio handles this whole part of Hughes expertly, because he does not only ever focus on the direct effects of the disorder, but also the other effects. DiCaprio slowly loses Hughes charm, very realistically as he becomes more paranoid about just about anything around him. He loses all of his positive aspects slowly, as his disorder becomes worse. All the mannerisms that Hughes slowly gains such as his injury, and his obsessive repeating of sentences are well handled by DiCaprio not all making them seem forced but completely natural to the Howard Hughes.

DiCaprio does something interesting in his performance which is show his possible recovery since he slowly loses what he has but never completely during this film, even though it is quite clearly suggested at the end that he is going to lose everything. It is fascinating because DiCaprio shows him at the brink when he sits naked in his room urinating in bottles, which DiCaprio actually makes it believable that he is doing it, because he showed that Hughes disorder slowly brought him down to this point. But at the same time DiCaprio manages to show that Hughes partially pulls himself up to face his war profiteering charges. DiCaprio is particularly strong in these moments because he shows his pain in performing the slightest task because of his disorder, but also shows that Hughes is not completely gone, and still has his quiet persuasion, and charm left in the hearing scenes, which DiCapario handles simply brilliant.

I really do not want to sound negative because this is a great performance but I never fully saw him as Howard Hughes I did in a way someone rather just like Howard Hughes. Being completely Howard Hughes though is something no actor probably could do entirely, and DiCaprio became very close which is incredible achievement considering the incredible challenge of Howard Hughes.

17 comments:

dinasztie said...

Hope he wins.

Too bad I wasn't here to enjoy my success with my previous predictions.

Deiner said...

Terrific performance and Terrific review :D

dshultz said...

Damn, I thought he was going to get a five. Oh well, you really seemed to like him though.

dshultz said...

I just had an idea: Maybe, you could do a special for all the people who you think should have been nominated a certain year, but weren't.

Louis Morgan said...

I have had an idea somewhat similar to that idea, and I was thinking I might do something like that eventually, but at the moment I am going to stick to the actually nominated.

Sage Slowdive said...

Yeah, I was hoping for a 5 too, but at least you liked him :)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant performance, just saw it, he definitely should have won that year! Awesome review!

Tanvir Bashar said...

Wat wud unsay r dicaprios top ten best performances

Louis Morgan said...

1. The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Censored
3. Django Unchained
4. Catch Me If You Can
5. The Aviator
6. Blood Diamond
7. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
8. Inception
9. Shutter Island
10. Titanic

Tanvir Bashar said...

Which actors wud u say r dicaprios contemporaries

Louis Morgan said...

Johnny Depp and to a lesser extent Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Wat about Edward Norton brad Pitt Heath ledger

Louis Morgan said...

Pitt I feel predates DiCaprio enough I think. Norton was never seen as a heartthrob nor was he as big of star, the same goes for Ledger.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Wat bout Damon

Louis Morgan said...

Yeah I'd put him as a contemporary as well.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Why do u think depp is his contemporary

Louis Morgan said...

Both were seen as big stars and heartthrobs while still having credibility found with critical success as well.