A good friend of mine got into a heated argument over movies (what’s new?) recently about the film J. Edgar. Prior to its release, he told me that he believes that J. Edgar won’t only be nominated for Best Picture, but it will WIN along with a Best Lead Actor award for Leonardo DiCaprio. At first glance, this shouldn’t really be that outrageous of a prediction. Leonardo DiCaprio is coming off of an incredible year with Shutter Island and Inception, and Clint Eastwood is a bonified Academy Award winner. Team these two up and you’re bound to receive plenty of Academy Awards, right?
Not necessarily. I don’t know why I got so angry when hearing this prediction, but I did. My best guess is because to simply state such a bold prediction at that very moment is as good as a dog picking who’s going to win the Super Bowl in five years. And therefore, I took it amongst myself to prove that he was dead wrong.
First and foremost, while Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio continue to release entertaining and better-than-average films and performances, neither of them has reached the prestige of Academy Awards glory in FIVE years. Can you even name what film each of them made in 2006?
Eastwood had quite an impressive streak when he directed Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Letters to Iwo Jima within a four year period. Those films received great responses from The Academy, but since then? Eastwood has been shut-out, even though some actors were nominated from his films (though none won). So to predict that J. Edgar will definitely be an awards magnet, solely based on the assumption that every Eastwood touches is gold, is just ludicris.
And then there’s Leonardo DiCaprio. For the record, I think DiCaprio is a great actor who hasn’t received the recognition from The Academy that he deserves. That being said, although he’s been in very popular movies of late, he hasn’t scored any nominations. He didn’t even receive a nod for his role in Revolutionary Road (2008). His last nod was for playing Danny Archer in 2006’s Blood Diamond. Yes, that was five years ago.
So why was it such a guarantee that J. Edgar would be a serious contender this year at The Oscars? It obviously was just a blindfolded guess, but I guess that’s the fun with predictions. I have no clue what’s going to happen and neither do you. You’re guess is as good as mine. There are plenty of great movies yet to be released, and now that J. Edgar has a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems like quite an uphill battle for the film to win Best Picture. For those who love to scoff at the legitimacy of the Rotten Tomatoes rating, let’s put it in perspective: Since 2000, no film won Best Picture with a lower Rotten Tomatoes rating than 75%, and the average rating of Best Picture winners since 2000 is 89%. So at a whopping 41%, Team J. Edgar better have an outstanding campaign or it will certainly be buried alongside the recent films of Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio.