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Top 11.5 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances Ranked And 3 That Were 100% Oscar-Worthy

Rebecca Johansson



Top 11.5 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances Ranked And 3 That Were 100% Oscar-Worthy
Warner Bros.

Today we’ve ranked the top Leonardo DiCaprio performances and three that were 100% Oscar-worthy.

He’s one of the most talented, versatile, and unsung (Oscar-wise) actors of our generation.

And although he’s appeared in some amazing films, some of the ones which didn’t do as well at the box office are often the ones where his performance was off the scale.

Here we’ve listed Leo’s top 11.5 performances – not films – to date.

P.S. The top 3 were so difficult to number because they’re all as phenomenal as each other in different ways.

WARNING: The next section contains spoilers

11. Catch Me If You Can

In Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg’s only movie together to date, Leo plays the part of Frank Abagnale: a true story about a young man who stole millions of dollars successfully pretending to be a doctor, a lawyer, and a co-pilot – all before he turned 21.

And it’s DiCaprio’s charm and charisma that really make this a stand-out role for him. Although he’s a huge crook, you can’t help but admire him and fall (a lot) under his spell.

10. Romeo + Juliet

No list of Leo’s top performances would be complete without a nod to Romeo + Juliet.

Although this wasn’t his first starring role, it was a film that really cemented his place in the spotlight (and on thousands of bedroom walls). Not only did he act his socks off, but he also looked good doing it. Young Leo could hit me with a truck and I’d still apologise.

9. Titanic

Next on our list of Leonardo DiCaprio performances ranked is Titanic. Although Titanic has gained a reputation for being nothing more than a soppy chick flick with a well-known soundtrack, it’s so unwarranted because the film is fantastic.

There aren’t many other actors who, in under four hours, could go from meeting a girl for the first time to convincing us that he loves her enough to die for her… not just once, but twice.

Whether or not you like the story, whether or not you like the film, the fact remains: Leo’s performance was outstanding.

8. Inception

Although this is one of my favourite Leo movies as a whole, I don’t think this role allowed him to showcase his talent as much as some of his other ventures – hence why it comes in at number eight.

Playing the role of Cobb – a thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology – we watch as his story unfolds in a surprising and tragic way. Leo’s performance makes us grieve for the enormous loss that he bears a lot of guilt for.

7. Shutter Island

Here’s another film where Leonardo DiCaprio has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Playing the role of a U.S. Marshal, we’re constantly kept in suspense as to what the shocking truth is that he uncovers. But the way that truth is played out is what makes this one of Leo’s top performances. Everything about it is first-class. And the ending is in another Inception-Esque mind-bender…

6. The Wolf Of Wall Street

Next on our list of Leonardo DiCaprio performances ranked is The Wolf of Wall Street. Despite having a director and two actors that I love, I’m in the minority of people who didn’t enjoy this film. But, of course, DiCaprio was undeniably brilliant.

Leo’s portrayal of obscene Wall Street broker, Jordan Belfort, was played up to the hilt. But while Belfort is a deplorable figure, DiCaprio manages to inject sympathy into the man throughout the film, transforming this scheming con artist into someone you both loathe and pity at the same time.

5. The Great Gatsby

Every time I watch this film, Leo’s performance always tugs at my heartstrings in a way that few others ever have.

DiCaprio plays a man who’s completely besotted with a woman he fell for before he went away to war. She married someone else, and he spends the rest of his life trying to become wealthy enough to win her back.

Although he plays a character who’s ever-optimistic, you see his total vulnerability around Daisy. You see the pain when he wants her to tell her husband that she never loved him. It’s one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s most compelling and moving performances, and one that I feel is entirely underrated.

4.5. The Aviator

You’re probably wondering why this gets a .5 score. Well, I found the first half of this film to be painfully slow. To the point of almost turning it off – but then Leo came into his own and I was completely engrossed until the end credits.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes – record-setting pilot and perfectionist film director – who suffers from germophobia and psychological illness. It’s when this becomes more prominent – to the point of insanity – that DiCaprio really shines.

If you manage to survive the first half, you’ll be blessed with a performance that’ll keep you glued to the screen.

4. Django Unchained

This is the only film (aside from arguably The Man In The Iron Mask) where Leo has really played the bad guy – and boy, does he deliver.

A brutal Mississippi plantation owner who forces slaves to fight for his own entertainment, DiCaprio is the inhuman monster you just love to hate.

And although he was initially uncomfortable with the number of racial slurs he had to use, Samuel L Jackson and Jamie Foxx encouraged Leo to take his character to the extreme.

Considering he famously slammed his hand through glass in an incredibly tense scene – but kept acting until the cameras stopped rolling – I’d say he nailed it.

3. The Departed

100% Oscar-worthy

Most people didn’t think Martin Scorsese could top his previous gangster masterpieces, but The Departed’s eye-wateringly good cast, masterful directing, and suspense-filled story make it a mob movie to remember.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as the undercover cop infiltrating Boston’s most notorious gang is all kinds of perfection. “I got to play somebody who was constantly in angst, having 24-hour panic attacks, which is something I never got to do before,” said DiCaprio.

You feel his fear, anger, vulnerability, loneliness and fatigue throughout the film. You worry for him, root for him, hope for him, and despair for him.

For these reasons – for the complexity of emotions Leo had to display and provoke from the audience – I rate this above Django and Wolf Of Wall Street which others may score higher.

It took Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese just one day to decide to do it, and it’s still the only film that bagged Scorsese an Oscar for Best Director. But if we had to pick just one film to be remembered for, this is a damn fine one to choose.

2. The Basketball Diaries

100% Oscar-worthy

Based on Jim Caroll’s autobiographical work, The Basketball Diaries is a dark but compelling film that captures the hidden side of addiction.

Leo plays the part of Jim: a young boy who goes from being a talented high school basketball star to a strung-out heroin addict turning tricks for drugs.

Despite playing the lead role at just 19 years old, Leo’s stellar but heart-wrenching performance accurately depicts the horrific descent of an addict.

The desperation to score, excruciating pain going through withdrawal, and shame at prostituting himself for 35 bucks is all depicted so believably, you could easily be watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

But it’s gritty films like these that Leo is born to play. Even Carroll himself said, “I came out of the theatre after seeing The Basketball Diaries thinking, ‘Leonardo DiCaprio can do anything.’”

Make no mistake, this is not a happy film. It’ll leave you feeling desolate and depressed. But if you never watch it, you’ll have missed out on one of DiCaprio’s all-time greatest performances.

1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

100% Oscar-worthy

And here we are. At the top of Leonardo DiCaprio top-ranked performance. Surprised at the film? Unfortunately, the best performances are sometimes in films that don’t deserve them. This is one of those films.

Although Johnny Depp plays the lead role and does so admirably, it’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s depiction of an autistic teenager that steals every scene.

In his first oscar-nominated role, 19-year-old Leo brings sensitivity and authenticity to a part that might have come across as distasteful. In fact, his performance was so convincing, several Hollywood film critics were surprised to find out that Leo didn’t actually have a disability in real life. If that’s not a sign of incredible talent, I don’t know what is.

The fact is, Leonardo  DiCaprio’s performance as Arnie Grape is simply sublime. From the improvised ‘nose flick’, the subtle hand gestures and mannerisms, to the way he blinks just that little bit slower and ever so slightly out of sync. This is the kind of talent that you just can’t teach. You either have it or you don’t.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is not a great film. Not by a long chalk. But if you want to see one of the finest bits of acting you’ll ever have the privilege to witness, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.

And that’s our list of the top 11.5 Leonardo DiCaprio performances ranked and 3 that were 100% Oscar-worthy. Are there any we missed out that you would like to have seen on the list? If so, leave us a comment below.

Check out more from our movie pages HERE.

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Movie News

The Good, The Bad And The Classic

Sarah Casserley



Star From Disney Plus

Disney Plus Star image
Disney Plus

Disney Plus introduced Star to the service a little while ago now with loads of highlights. We’re sure, like us, you’ve had a good old delve into the catalogue and watched some of your faves. But, just in case you’ve missed anything, we have put together a little guide on what’s good to get stuck into. Also what’s bad and could do with being swiped past, and the classic must-see TV series and films that you probably didn’t even realise were there.

So, when you find yourself looking for something to watch on a Friday evening or binge for a couple of weeks, don’t scroll endlessly, just take a look at our guide of Disney Plus Star recommendations.

The Good

These are the films and series that have been released within the last 10 years, which you need to watch or should at least be on your ‘to watch’ list.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Atlanta (2016 – Present)

If you haven’t watched this series yet, why not? The creative and talented Donald Glover heads up the show as the main character ‘Earn’, and on the writing credits too (among 6 others, including his brother Stephen Glover), in this funny, gritty and realistic series which follows a rapper ‘Paper Boy’ and his manager Earn (Glover) as they navigate the rap business. If you have watched the show before, you may want to re-watch for a recap as season 3 has been promised to us very soon.

9-1-1 (2018 – Present)

This isn’t just any emergency service drama, this series covers the lives of several Los Angeles first responders: police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and dispatchers. It also has some big names involved, including Angela Bassett and, later in the series, Jennifer Love Hewitt. For some reason though, there’s only two of the four seasons of 9-1-1 on Disney Plus Star so far, but it’s well worth a watch and we’re sure the other two seasons should be along soon.

Doll Face (2019 – Present)

By the title alone, and the fact that it’s a weekly release, it initially looked like this series was set around a stereotypical break up and was destined for the bad list. However, the witty script, amazing female actors and relatable storyline made me put this series firmly within the good pile as I can’t wait to watch more. Kat Dennings takes the lead in the series and really brings to life upcoming writer Jordan Weiss’ story of female friendships after a breakup.

Films on Disney Plus Star

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

This beautiful coming of age story, based on a book with the same name, is a great watch for all ages, not just teens. Be ready for oodles of romance, as well as teary and heart-warming moments, as you follow two teens affected by cancer as they set off on a journey of discovery.

The Favourite (2018)

We love a period drama, and this quirky look at the reign of Queen Anne is no exception. With starring roles from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, it’s no wonder The Favourite had 336 nominations in award season and 182 wins. It’s definitely one of the best films from the last 5 years on Disney Plus Star.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

There are some examples coming up in these lists that give sequels a bad name, however, Deadpool 2 isn’t one of them. If you were putting off watching this one because of the sequel curse, don’t, it’s just as good – if not better – than the first. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is back as the foul-mouthed superhero and, this time, he brings some new friends: Domino (Zazie Beetz), Fire Fist (Julian Dennison) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) among others.

The Bad

There’s not as many on this ‘bad’ list as Star has done a pretty good job with their chosen titles. However, like any service, there are always a few bad eggs in our opinion… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch these, it’s more of a warning that there may be better things to press play on.

Series on Disney Plus Star

Lost (2004 – 2010)

To be completely honest here, the first two seasons of Lost are very entertaining and interesting to watch, as you follow several people who try to survive a plane crash and have to adapt to life on a strange island. But, by the middle of season three, things start to get a little confusing and we found ourselves getting lost (pun intended) in the plot until the final sixth season, only to be hit with a heavily reported disappointing end… even worse than some people’s feelings about Game Of Thrones. So, we recommendation delving into some of the other series rather than this one.

24: Legacy (2017)

Trying to build another series from an established series can be very hit or miss – and this one was a huge miss. So much so that Fox axed it just after one series.

It takes on the same format as the original 24 series, where one season is just one day, however, this time they are trying to stop a terrorist attack. The format just doesn’t work with this storyline and you lose a lot of momentum and excitement, plus the acting just isn’t the best.

Films on Disney Plus Star

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Just like building another series off a series, sequels can also be tricky beasts… some are good, some are bad and, when it follows an absolute classic like ‘Independence Day’, it needs to be amazing. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite live up to the legacy of the first film; I mean, not even ‘Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth couldn’t get this to match up with the original. But it is still entertaining, so if you do decide to watch this one, just do so with caution.

The Classic

As you have probably already noticed there are some absolute classics on Disney Plus Star, so this is going to be the longest list, full of series that you can binge from start to finish and films that stand the test of time and can be re-watched repeatedly. Most of these titles don’t need much explanation as you’ll have already watched or heard about them, but you might not have spotted them yet on Disney Plus Star as some were buried deep in the archives.

Series on Disney Plus Star

X Files (1993 – 2001)

If you were born in the 90s or 00s, this one may have gone under your radar; however, once you watch the first season full of aliens, wired going ons and the brilliantly disjointed relationship of FBI agents, conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder and realist Dana Scully, you won’t want to stop watching. Granted some of the special effects are a little dated and unbelievable, but you will soon forget about that as you get sucked into the narrative.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2002)

I know, I know, it’s hard to think there are people out there that haven’t watched a single vampire slaying, kick-ass, sci-fi loaded episode… but there is. If you are one of those people, what are you waiting for? Every single episode is here wating for you to binge. If you don’t fancy delving into the full thing, I would recommend at least taking a peek at the seventh episode of the sixth series (Once More, with Feeling: Buffy the Musical).

24 (2001 – 2014)

Before Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) burst on our screens in 2001, this kind of format for a series had never been attempted before and it just worked, so much so it ran for 9 seasons. It may seem odd at first, as each series is just one day, but you really do get sucked in.

Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – 2018)

Within its almost 13 years of being on air, this series has offered every heart-warming and breath-holding moment you need from a hospital-based drama. This would be a perfect series to start if you want something that will last you a while.

Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

Bikes, leather and action: what’s not to like? This series ran for a glorious 7 seasons, and within these episodes, there is storyline upon storyline that will keep you hooked and wanting to know more about the motorcycle club that straddles the line between legal and illegal.

Films on Disney Plus Star

(We’re pretty sure you will have watched most of these films, but they are well worth a re-watch)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

The film that started them all. Since the release of this film in 1968, there have been seven more sequels and remakes of the original sci-fi movie, two of which you can also watch on Disney Plus Star: Planet Of the Apes (2001) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

Jewel of the Nile (1985)

It could possibly be that the countless TV showings over the have passed you by, but if you’ve not seen Jewel of the Nile, you should definitely give it a go. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito are fantastic in this pure 80s romantic action comedy.

Cocktail (1988)

Sticking within the 80s romantic comedy realm, you’ve also got Cocktail, which is full of love ultimatums, with a dash of cheese. Come on, you know you want to watch a young Tom Cruise at work.

The Fly (1986)

One name – Jeff Goldblum. Watch it.

Pretty Woman (1990)

We were just as excited as the first time we watched it when we saw this classic on the service. To not watch this again would be a big mistake. HUGE.

Toys (1992)

This wonderfully wacky story by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson comes alive with the help of one of the best comedic actors of all time, Robin Williams, alongside the wonderful Joan Cusack and, bizarrely, LL Cool J.

What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

Whether you love Tina Turner’s music or not, it does not matter. This is one of the most interesting and inspirational biographical movies that you will ever watch. Word of warning, the incredible Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne are so great at their roles that some of the more sensitive scenes are very realistic.

Braveheart (1995)

With any new service, there are glitches, and we found one! Whilst watching this absolute classic a few weeks ago, about two and a half hours into the film the screen when to the small screen format as if the credits had come up, making it difficult to watch the last part of the film. However, when we went to finish the film off a week later the glitch had been fixed and you can now watch the whole film without interruption… FREEDOM!

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)

We all know that when it comes to film, Baz Luhrmann is a genius and he doesn’t disappoint with this abstract take on the story. It’s worth watching for the soundtrack alone.

Independence Day (1996)

90s Will Smith doing what he did best: lots of running, fighting and shouting – need I say more? Oh yes, you can also watch another one of his masterpieces, Enemy of the State (1998) on this service too.

Con Air (1997)

‘Put the bunny back in the box’ and sit down and watch this classic… we all know Nicholas Cage films can be a little unpredictable, but this film is definitely a hit, especially as he is joined by other legends of the screen, including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack and Ving Rhames.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Well if it’s at our fingertips, why not watch this film for the 56th time… this year.

So, there you have it, these are some of our highlights and must-miss titles from Disney Plus Star. Are there any that we missed? If so, comment below and let us know what category they belong in.

Check out the top 10 hidden gems in the other Disney Plus feeds HERE.

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