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DiCaprio’s vehicle for victory and I.G. Greer’s next featured film

Leonardo+DiCaprio+in+The+Revenant%2C+a+movie+produced+in+2015.+Photo+courtesy+20th+Century+Fox.
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant,” a movie produced in 2015. Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox.

It was the win that millions of fans had waited for, the victory heard ’round the world on Feb. 28 as Leonardo DiCaprio, after four prior Oscar nominations for Best Actor, finally triumphed and took home this award for the acclaimed film, Alejandro Inñáritu’s “The Revenant.”

It’s tempting to speculate that this win resulted from the immense pop culture hype that surrounded DiCaprio’s nominations, however this doesn’t seem to be the case. Despite the pressure of the long-running jokes, countless memes and pleas of fans, this win can be attributed to talent.

The film is largely a one-man show, with the bulk of the action revolving around his character, Hugh Glass, who attempts to survive winter in the wilderness. The emotional intensity and unflinching realism of DiCaprio’s performance is incredibly potent and reminiscent of his acclaimed contemporaries, like the ceaselessly awe-inspiring Daniel Day-Lewis, whose embodiment of characters in films like “There Will Be Blood” and “My Left Foot,” is legendary.

DiCaprio’s performance was rightfully acclaimed, with the general consensus being overwhelmingly positive. Both critics and spectators came away impressed, including Appalachian State University’s own film enthusiasts.

When asked if DiCaprio deserved the Oscar via Facebook, most students had nothing but praise to give. Jack Allen, a senior history major and fan, attributed the win to both talent and also what he perceived to be weak competition.

“I think he did deserved it for “The Revenant,” but I also don’t think the nominees were as strong this year – except for [Eddie] Redmayne in ‘The Danish Girl,’” Allen wrote. “I can’t stand when people argue that Leo ‘deserved it’ for being ‘snubbed’ in previous years. The Oscar is not a lifetime achievement award.”

English and theatre double major Justin McGovney agreed, particularly enjoying DiCaprio’s performance because of his personal understanding of and connection to acting. He spoke about his appreciation of DiCaprio’s deep dedication.

“[DiCaprio’s win] was very well deserved,” he said. “Leo gave an amazing commitment to his role and did so many things that even some of the best actors may not have done.”

McGovney added that he found the film to be excellent overall, with minor flaws that can be overlooked. It was, he said, was one of the most beautiful films he’d ever seen.

One dissenting opinion, however, came from senior electronic media and broadcasting major Zach Hawkins. Though he enjoyed the film and, like McGovney, felt the issues were minor enough to be ignored, he was somewhat unimpressed with DiCaprio’s performance.

“With Leo specifically, his performance was good but, in my opinion, not worthy of the Oscar,” Hawkins said. “Bryan Cranston should have won best male actor for his portrayal of Dalton Trumbo in ‘Trumbo.’ While Leo is a good actor, I don’t believe he is the actor of a generation.”

Hawkins said that “The Revenant” was a good film with exceptional cinematography. Though he found that the story occasionally lacked, the action and visuals really held his interest.

The cinematography, as Hawkins mentions, is one of the strong points of the film, earning it one of its three Oscars. The absolutely stunning camerawork starts from the very beginning of the film and never wavers in quality, regardless of situation. The terrain, though harsh and unforgiving, is cast in a powerful and magnificent light, and the humans’ mortality and ultimate weakness is unflinchingly highlighted.

Universal acclaim in regard to the facet of the film is present in every review, and the same can be said of the film’s third Oscar winner, director Alejandro Inñáritu. After his identical win for “Birdman” at last year’s Academy Awards, the momentum continued, leading to another triumph and another phenomenal film.

Even if DiCaprio is not everyone’s personal favorite, the film is worth seeing. The majesty of the camerawork and the passion that clearly went into the creation of “The Revenant” is undeniable, and the film a must-see for anyone who appreciates this kind of craftsmanship in cinema.

Of course, with the excitement surrounding the film, it was a box office success, making $506.2 million worldwide.There are a few more chances for App students to see the film on a big screen and make their own judgments.

I.G. Greer will be showing the film on April 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. As always, the tickets will be $1 in advance, $2 at the door and free to the first five people to “give an Oscar speech about global warming,” according to APPS membership coordinator, Michael Ream.

Story by Jordan Parkhurst, A&E Reporter

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