10 Best Roles: Leonardo Dicaprio
Leonardo Dicaprio has been on a roll for such a long time; we’ve started taking him for granted. Let’s take a quick look back to better appreciate his illustrious career thus far. Leo has so many excellent performances to date, ranking his performances was no easy feat. But unlike Rose on that roomy raft, we are sure going to try.
- The Departed
Even if this film is remembered as the time Scorsese got an overdue Oscar, Leo is at his finest here as Billy Costigan Jr, an undercover cop trying to hold it together while in the midst of a world-class shit storm. Leo’s range in this film is stunning and incredibly, his Boston accent doesn’t stand out as awful, even in conversation with Will Hunting.
- Wolf of Wall Street
Playing the real-life Jordan Belfort allows Leo to fully let loose here. Despite playing a Wall Street suit, this is by far his most physical role. Leo is transfixing on screen, whether struggling to his car in a drug-induced paralysis, dancing the night away, or firing up his money-hungry army of certifiable office workers.
- Catch Me If You Can
Nimble and charming don’t always describe Leo on screen, but it does here, and combined with Spielberg’s brisk direction, Leo nails it as Frank Abagnale Jr. He’s charming and effortless, and it may be his most digestible performance, even though making it look easy certainly shouldn’t be mistaken for actually being easy.
- The Aviator
Is anybody better than Leo at playing an isolated character falling into madness? Leo completely transforms into Howard Hughes in a role that was made for him.
- Shutter Island
Nobody appreciates Leo’s performance here as a completely broken, grieving father slowly descending into total — you guessed it — madness. Mark Ruffalo is a superb pairing. Shoutout to Scorsese for doing something different and being partly responsible for four of Leo’s top five performances.
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
What were you doing at 20 years old? Leo was getting his first Oscar nod in what remains one of his best performances to date as mentally challenged Arnie Grape. Leo creates a character that is lovable and convincing and proves his worth as an actor alongside a young Johnny Depp.
- Blood Diamond
“You tell him to send in the dakadak!”, “This is Africa!”, “In America, it’s bling bling. But out here it’s bling bang”. Leo talks pretty much exclusively in amazing quotes as South African gunrunner, it was was somehow the man’s second-best role of the year. Somehow, he had a historic enough year that this was his second-best performance of 2006. Insane.
- Django Unchained.
Perfectly cast here in his only real villainous role to date. Leo manages to stand out among other stand-out performances. Also, love his funky bad-guy hairdo.
Women everywhere wanted to be painted like one of Jack’s French girls. Leo is perfect here in one of the most epic love stories ever told. If you don’t think its hard to carry a film of this scale, you are wrong.
- Revolutionary Road
Great performance that nobody talks about anymore. Leo succeeds at being half of the worst couple ever, but who could blame Jack after Rose let him drown like that? Imagine Jordan Belfort but with less weird dancing and way more smoking.
Note: Inception easily could have made this list but if you think it’s in Leo’s top five, you’re dreaming.