Internet search engines have predicted that in the 2014 Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio should be a winner. The four-time nominee deserves a gong, according to the number of times his name has been typed into Google. As the annual Hollywood jamboree draws near, support for Leo is gathering pace online. If web users had their way DiCaprio would be carrying the Best Actor award home with him this Sunday. He has three times walked away empty-handed after his hit films What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator and Blood Diamond. Many devoted fans will still insist on remembering most fondly as Jack in Titanic. This year he has wowed cinema audiences for his powerful performance in The Wolf of Wall Street.
This groundswell of popular support was further enhanced by CNN, when they broadcast a screen grab of a plaque proclaiming him to be Best Actor of 2014 a month ago. However, this was not a sign that the CNN team had some insider knowledge, as plaques are made for all nominees, and the voting had not even begun at that stage. (For the curious, the unused ones get recycled.) The sneak peek at Leo’s possible winning plaque was shown during a tour of the R.S. Ownens factory in Chicago where all the iconic golden statuettes are manufactured.
Another indicator is also said to be who wins the Screen Actor’s Guild Best Actor, and this prize was taken by Leonardo DiCaprio’s main rival, Matthew McConaughey for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof in the Dallas Buyer’s Club. With the Golden Globe and Critics Choice accolades also under his belt, McConaughey is the most serious threat to Leonardo, and did in fact overtake him in search traffic at one point during the week.
Going by the searches, Sandra Bullock should be tipped to win Best Actress for Gravity, even though it is close, and Cate Blanchett remains the bookie’s choice. Jared Leto is ahead of Bradley Cooper in the Best Supporting Actor category, despite Cooper picking up some more interest post the Baftas on February 16. (Although the Bafta winner, Captain Phillips Barkhard Abdi has hardly appeared on search queries). Best Supporting Actress looks like Jennifer Lawrence by a country mile. Already an Oscar winner for Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence is streets ahead of her contenders in the internet polls for American Hustle.
Google searchers have not shown much, if any interest in Lupita Nyong’o the newcomer from 12 Years a Slave, nor for Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, or June Squibb for Nebraska. It is only Julia Roberts who appears to pose any sort of competition to Lawrence in this category, in the gospel according to Google popularity.
Of course, it is the members of the Academy whose votes will decide, and not the members of the public. The figures do give a rough guide to the people’s choices but they should not be relied upon as a results predictor.
Those who belong to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are the judges in the 86th Academy Awards and they have to carefully watch all the films and make their own minds up. There are 6,000 such voters across all departments in the film industry. This year they have had more than fifty films to view in order to consider each and every nomination. Some, like Russell Williams, a former sound mixer, will not use his vote if he has not seen all the five nominations. He and his fellow members are excited by the 2014 Oscars. “This is the best year in decades” says Jerry Freedman, a director. He cites Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, in particular, as movies that are “game-changers.”
As Leonardo DiCaprio brushes up his tuxedo and prepares to face his fans on Sunday, he will be wondering if this really is his year. After a tough childhood which he turned around into a long and distinguished movie career, he is still only 39 years old. Critics have raved about his role as Jordan Belfont in The Wolf of Wall Street, his fifth film with Martin Scorcese. “DiCaprio doesn’t just play this part, he inhales it” said Variety. There have been some concerns that academy members recoiled somewhat from the “debauched shenanigans” of The Wolf of Wall Street but this has paled in significance since the viral furore broke out over Woody Allen.
Leonardo DiCaprio himself has been described as “painfully normal” by a friend and swears, quite unlike Jordan Belfont, he has never done any drugs. Acting has been his route out of poverty and into a fulfilling career. Whether it will now win him his first Oscar, is according to the internet, a near-on certainty.
By Kate Henderson