Posts Tagged ‘The Aviator’

Metro: With The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio is still searching for that Oscar

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.31.07 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Leonardo DiCaprio makes $25 million dollars per movie. So he has money. His best friend is Tobey McGuire and his little black book reads like a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, so he’s never lonely. He has opulent homes on both the left and right coasts of America—one comes equipped with a vitamin C infused shower—and even owns a 104 acre unpopulated island off the coast of Belize.

He’s a superstar with all the creature comforts money can buy. Do you know what he doesn’t have? An Oscar.

He’s come close several times, earning nominations for his work in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf of Wall Street but he’s never entered the winner circle.

He’s always been gracious in defeat, smiling and nodding during the Oscar broadcast when someone else’s name is called. “I wasn’t surprised that Jamie got the award,” he said about the 2005 Academy Awards when Jamie Foxx took Best Actor for Ray over The Aviator. “But I knew that cameras would be stuffed up my face so I had my response ready. Anyone who says they don’t practice is a liar.”

He may not have to fake being happy for another actor this year. Pundits are predicting his new movie The Revenant could bring him that elusive honour. He plays American fur trapper Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who became a legend in 1823 when he survived a brutal bear attack and slogged across harsh terrain to get revenge on the man who left him to die.

This is DiCaprio’s Jeremiah Johnson, a movie that masks his matinee idol good looks with facial hair and grimaces. For much of the two-and-a-half-hour running time he is mute, alone on screen crawling across the frozen landscape, slowly inching his way toward vengeance. There are great physical demands made on the actor—the Bear-Maul-O-Rama being just one of the miseries he endures—but this is an internal performance. The character’s strength, pain, frustration, anger and intestinal fortitude are apparent not only in his actions—he cauterizes wounds with gun powder!—but, more importantly, in his eyes. There’s the will to survive and then there’s whatever is driving Glass and whatever that is, it’s written on DiCaprio’s face. It may not be his flashiest role—although he does get to disembowel a horse—but it is one of his best.

Nominations will be announced January 14 so we won’t know until then if he is chosen for sure, but the odds are good. So good that Vanity Fair declared, “This is going to be the year Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins that Oscar.”

Question is, why would someone who has everything want an Academy Award. What difference would it make in his life and career?

The truthful answer is that it would likely make no difference at all to his career, at least financially. He’s already in the top tier of Tinseltown salaries and the fabled “Oscar box office bump”—a sharp spike in ticket sales when the nominations are announced—hasn’t meant much in recent years.

The real win for DiCaprio would be in the prestige department. The Best Actor Oscar is a rare commodity. Only seventy-eight people have them—Daniel Day-Lewis has three, Jack Nicholson and seven others have two apiece—and while he is already a respected performer, winning one would put him in the company of Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper.

If he becomes the seventy-ninth actor to take home the gold it’s recognition from his peers but besides that, one of those statues is the perfect thing to lend some flair to the man who has everything’s private island décor.

The challenge of building Cinderella’s glass slipper in real life

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.50.33 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

“How do you do a glass shoe?”

It sounds like a question from an age-old nursery rhyme, but was actually a real problem for Sandy Powell, the Academy Award-winning costume designer of the new live-action version of Cinderella.

Powell, whose Oscars for Shakespeare in Love, The Aviator and The Young Victoria decorate her mantle, gave me a sneak peek at the unique shoes given to Cinderella (played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James) by her Fairy Godmother months in advance of this weekend’s opening.

“The glass slipper had nothing to do with any shoemakers because it is made of crystal,” Powell explained.

Working with Swarovski, she designed the shoe, complete with a six-inch heel and 221 facets with their light-reflecting Crystal Blue Aurora Borealis coating, out of solid crystal.

“No one can actually put their foot in that,” she says.

“It’s a prop. In effect I was designing a prop that gets held and gets tried on but for her (to walk in) we made another shoe that was the same shape, in leather, that she could wear and then the visual effects (transformed it to) the glass on her foot.

“The glass shoe was the biggest challenge to do.

“How do you do a glass shoe that doesn’t look ugly and huge?

“Hopefully I have done it. It had to sparkle. And rather than it be made up of lots of little crystals, I thought it would be brilliant if we could make it out of one piece of crystal. We didn’t know if that would be possible.

“We spoke to Swarovski very early on and I thought it should be like a faceted, cut piece of crystal and that’s what we worked on, which took several months.

“They didn’t even know if they could do it.

“We didn’t know if it was going to be possible until the first one came hot off the press.”

Eight crystal shoes were made, but in order to save time and money, there was no left or right foot, just neutral, according to Powell.

“No one is going to notice,” she says. “Doing a pair would have taken twice as long and we never see two at the same time.”

Working with Disney to bring Cinderella to life brings Powell full circle back to the movie that set her on her career path.

She cites the Mouse House’s Mary Poppins as an early influence, adding,

“I’ve always been inspired by clothes and I have always loved films.”

These days, 40 movies and three Oscars later, Powell is still finding plenty of passion in her work.

“I love it.

“It gives me great satisfaction,” she says.