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Grading on the DiCaprio Curve: Actors Who Should Have Won Oscars Based Purely on Suffering

By Courtney Enlow | Seriously Random Lists | February 25, 2016 |


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Yesterday, Petr brought us Matt Zoller Seitz’s explanation of why this “give Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar already” nonsense is ridiculous, and I wholly agree.

a) He’s 41. Calm down. People weren’t even this concerned about Jessica Tandy.

b) He’s fine. He bathes nightly in whiskey and model sweat.

c) The pure act of suffering does not guarantee you an Oscar.

Not only does intense suffering not necessarily put forth the best performance, but it shouldn’t be the main point of argument to show how much one deserves accolades. Because, were that the case, far more performers deserve Oscar gold.

Performers like…

Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now

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The production of the film was famously abysmal, littered with dead bodies (animal and human alike), lethal storms and suicidal declarations from director Francis Ford Coppola. Sheen suffered a heart attack during filming and was famously intoxicated in the film’s opening scene, cutting his hand when he punched a mirror. And for all that, he didn’t even get a nomination.

Shelley Duvall, The Shining

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There’s a common theme among directors who think it’s a stellar idea to abuse women to get a “realistic performance” (aka, masochists get paid to get their jollies thanks to art) and dammit if Kubrick didn’t take a page right out of the Hitchcock Ladyhaters Book of Acting Greatness for The Shining, torturing Duvall for the entire shoot to the point her hair fell out. For her pain, she was nominated for a major award. No, not an Oscar. A Razzie.

Kim Basinger, 9 1/2 Weeks

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That thing I just said about torturing actresses for the sake of performance? More of that! Adrian Lyne and Mickey Rourke literally abused Basinger to improve her performance. No, I do not mean “literally” in the colloquial sense.

To make the scene realistic, Mr. Lyne engaged in one of his private asides to Mr. Rourke. He recalled it this way: ”We were shooting the suicide scene, and this woman was supposed to be totally devastated at this point. But Kim looked dewy and lovely. I stopped and called Mickey aside. I told him that the scene wasn’t working, that Kim had to be broken down.” He said that Mr. Rourke returned to the set and helped extract the effect the director wanted. He said Mr. Rourke grabbed Miss Basinger’s arm and held it tightly, refusing to let go. Miss Basinger began to cry and then shouted and struck Mr. Rourke. He then slapped her in the face. She began to weep hysterically. Mr. Lyne then said, ”Now let’s start the scene.”

Neat. Basinger too was nominated for a Razzie and the film was a box office bomb. So, worth it.

Everyone in The Lord of the Rings trilogy

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These movies kicked the shit out of everyone involved. Here are just a few of the injuries: Viggo Mortensen lost a tooth and broke a toe, Orlando Bloom broke multiple ribs, John Rhys Davies was allergic to his makeup.

Channing Tatum, The Eagle

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They nearly burned his dick off, guys. THEY BOILED CHARMING’S POTATOES.

Juliette Danielle, The Room

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Give this woman an entire shelf of awards, money, a large condo filled with red dresses and pizzas (half Canadian bacon with pineapple, half artichoke with pesto, and light on the cheese) and a giftwrapped Greg Sestero (because Mark still looks GOOD).


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