With its bold combinaiton of physical comedy, outrage-inducing obliviousness and unapologetic brashness, DiCaprio’s turn in “Wolf” stands apart from his fellow lead actor Oscar nominees, with little in common with Christian Bale’s chameleon versatility, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s theater-trained gravitas, Matthew McConaughey’s unexpected reemergence and Bruce Dern’s valedictory lap. DiCaprio retains a mystique about him that is rare for a movie star these days. He is right there, right in front of us, and yet he remains unknowable even as his personal life makes for tabloid fodder. What’s more, for someone so famous he manages to slip away inside his roles as if dancing with his own movie star self as partner.
Oscars 2014: Leonardo DiCaprio deserves, but doesn’t need, a win for The Los Angeles Times, January 23rd, 2014. Photo by Kirk McKoy