My Problem with Leo’s Win and the Oscars
I love Leonardo DiCaprio. Honestly. I think he is a fantastic actor, he speaks out about important causes, and hello have you seen him? But I’ve been having an issue with his Oscar win.
I’m happy he won the Oscar, and I think he deserved to be acknowledged. But my issue lies in what his win means.
DiCaprio is always going to have the chance to play fantastic roles. He’s been playing Oscar-worthy roles since 1993 when he was nominated for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? And even though he hasn’t won an Oscar until now, he still receives these dynamic roles. He’s been nominated for an Oscar a total of five times, but has also played fantastic roles apart from those (I will never not be in love with Jack Dawson).
If DiCaprio didn’t win, he would still be offered another role. More likely than not, one of his future ones would be nominated for another Oscar. Him not winning an Oscar before doesn’t mean he’s a bad actor. The recognition from winning an Oscar is incredible, but honestly, not necessary for him. Everyone would still know he has talent, and he will continue to be offered roles.But not all actors have DiCaprio’s privilege.
The Oscar ceremony was obviously responding to the #OscarsSoWhite. No one of color was nominated in any of the major categories. The ceremony was joking and focusing so heavily on how the nominations need to change to recognize actors of color.
That’s obviously important. But I think Hollywood needs to also focus on making sure there are incredible roles offered to people of color. Dicaprio can be cast as any type of man, from a mentally impaired boy to a man who lives in the wilderness. So why can’t people of color? Why are all the roles for black people stereotypical ones – the slave, the criminal? Why are all the roles for Asian actors the stereotypical ones – the brainiac outsider?
If Hollywood really wants diversity, roles must be offered to people of every race. Casting needs to stop stereotyping people into certain roles and thinking they can only play that. Saying you’re going to change the awards process is a fantastic step, but that is going to be useless if you’re not changing how people of color are represented in movies. The world is diverse place. Hollywood and movies as a whole need to represent that.
Not being nominated for an Oscar doesn’t determine value as an actor. Just because someone isn’t nominated doesn’t take away their abilities. There are countless actors of color throughout the years that are incredible actors, directors, and producers, but just haven’t been nominated for an Oscar.
But the Academy Awards are a big deal. It’s a massive stage to be recognized for talents. And people of color deserve to be recognized alongside their colleagues.
I’m very happy for Leonardo DiCaprio and all the other winners. I think it’s a very good sign that the Oscars are receiving backlash for their lack of diversity. If the industry wants change, create more deep roles for people of color, and give them the acknowledgement they deserve.