Alejandro Inarritu’s latest film boasts technical and physical achievements as the usage of natural light illuminates a film so gorgeously visceral that it becomes the natural highlights of what appear to be some of the best acting performances by both the leads of the film. The Best-Supporting Actor Award should be stacked once again this year with a career performance by Sylvester Stallone, Jason Mitchell, Joel Edgerton, Walter Goggins, and Mark Ruffalo, but the Best Lead Actor awards are not nearly as hard to determine in my eyes.
We saw Eddie Redmayne go home with the gold statue last year instead Michael Keaton in my favorite film of last year, Birdman, which Inarritu also directed. While Redmayne was deserving of his Oscar for his transformation to Steven Hawking, the biopics that could match this year are not as clear cut as Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs may be the only contender I see taking it other than Leo.
Without spoiling the film, The Revenant may not be heavy on dialogue, but what it lacks in formal discussions is a physical performance for the ages. We saw glimpses of Leo’s physicality in The Wolf of Wall Street in everyone’s favorite scene with some quaaludes and a white lambo, but imagine that during a winter landscape and it’s not funny… Yeah. If we are talking about a best acting performance you critique it on everything:
- Were they convincing?
- Did they do something unlike the rest of the actors in the running?
- Did they push their own limits as an actor?
- And was the film a success either critically or financially?
When you check it off, Fassbender and DiCaprio are neck and neck until the last part. Where Leo wins this race is the same reason Fassbender could win this as well and that is the fact that you forget that it’s them acting these parts. While I don’t think Leo is a lock this year, I do believe he gave the best performance of this year and possibly of his career simply because he was given less with dialogue and description and was called upon to make the role his own. I mean come on, the guy ate an actual bison liver for this freaking movie.
Lest the Academy forget, The Revenant was more or less a biopic and loosely based on a real person and we know how much the voters love stories on real people.