Do we really have to give him an Oscar?

As the new awards season rolls around, months of gossip and countless sleepless nights of predictions unravel at last. Independent films finally shine in the overexposed light of Hollywood and beloved stars, unfairly snubbed in previous ceremonies, finally get the pat on the back they deserve with a nomination or two.

Or twelve. That’s right, 2015’s golden boy Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is for the second year running at the top of the Oscar nominations leaderboard. The Revenant has completed the must-have checklist for Oscar nominees and seems to be fanning the Academy’s ego quite nicely. It is undeniably beautifully shot, the silent words of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki etched in the battle scenes and endless landscapes – watch and learn, kids.

Like many others at the moment, The Revenant doesn’t take the risk of spinning a completely new tale. What if it’s not credible? What if it’s just not interesting? So, as one does when in doubt, it plucks a heroic real-life act of endurance and coats it with a thick meaningful message about one man against the world. Or something like that. The Revenant has all the elements setting it up for success. It also, and most importantly, has one man with a lot of unfinished business. Leonardo Di Caprio takes on the lead role in the two and a half hour epic, battling with the men, the bear, the script and the Academy. He is determined to get his Oscar, once and for all.

The Revenant’s marketing technique doesn’t seem to focus on the story, the place, or anything to do with the film as an independent entity at all. It is a means to an end, the path on which Di Caprio walks leading him to an Oscar. At least, this is the way the world seems to be portraying it. Every preview, trailer, interview, press release and review without fail ticks the “Di Caprio’s Oscar!” box on the Revenant checklist. The hype around not the film itself but its leading star has tainted viewing experiences of the film, the pressure of applause following Di Caprio’s performance always looming in cinemas everywhere

Let’s for one moment imagine The Revenant as a film with a low profile director and an unfamiliar face. Wouldn’t it be a great watch? The story doesn’t do anything wrong and as mentioned earlier, it does look good. Take away the big names and the overwhelming hype and you have an interesting film. Man gets attacked by the bear, gets attacked by man, dies, comes back to life, what a life it is. But to say that Leonardo Di Caprio has to win the Oscar for Best Actor in The Revenant? You must be having a laugh.

Full article published on Epigram

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