best film:  Inception. Inception is one of the great films of the decade thus far—a sonic-boom of a filmmaking achievement from Christopher Nolan. I’ve cooled on The Departed a little in the last decade but still think it’s there as a largely narratively-driven masterpiece so I have three masterpieces for DiCaprio. Inception, The Departed, and The Revenant. I had Inception #6 of the 2010’s decade (so far) and The Revenant as #7. I’m confident of the brilliance of both but it’s worth nothing that I’m way above the collective consensus in the film critic community here so we’ll see how these do over time. All DiCaprio does is make great films- but when we’re talking about the best 20 actors of all-time it’s worth nothing that he doesn’t yet have a film that’s in the top 10 of its respective decade. He would be alone with only Paul Newman on that list in my top 20 actors if this holds true.

best performance: The Revenant but I think Leo’s magnificent in everything. I think he’s outstanding as a Bogart anti-hero type in Blood Diamond, he’s not Daniel Day but he’s solid in Gangs of New York and I think he’s superb in Catch Me If you Can– and those are three of his fourteen films that are NOT in his top 10 performances of all-time. That’s incredible. In The Revenant he’s front and center for Iñárritu’s torture chamber of pain against a Malick-like picturesque backdrop (but with camera movements from Tarkovsky or Bela Tarr). It’s a physical performance (and a great pairing with Inception as that performance is almost entirely verbal) that reaches a level of authenticity that should be unattainable from any actor who’s been the biggest star in the world for 20 years.

stylistic innovations/traits: 14 films in the archives (9 of which I believe are in their respective year’s top 10), 5 Academy Award nominations and 1 win in 2015 for The Revenant. DiCaprio had some strong performances in his late teens and early 20’s (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, This Boy’s Life), became a monster of a star in box office champ Titanic in 1997 and then rededicated himself (with the help of pairing with possible G-O-A-T auteur Martin Scorsese in 2002 (five total films together to date)). The last 15 years he’s been pretty consistently the best actor on the planet (aside from when Daniel Day-Lewis decides to come out of retirement). His characters and films are largely too wide-ranging to pigeon-hole or typecast but he usually plays a character with unrelenting intensity. He’s the youngest actor on the top 20 actors of all-time (only 8 are alive) by 17 years (Day-Lewis)—so if he can keep this up he could end up in the top 10 or top 5.

directors worked with:   Scorsese (5) and though I may lament that this collaboration will never be Scorsese/ De Niro it’s a hell of an attempt (by both Leo and Scorsese). After this though there’s nobody more than once: Cameron, Spielberg, Nolan, Tarantino, Mendes and Iñárritu.

Top 10 Performances:

  1. The Revenant
  2. The Departed
  3. The Aviator
  4. Inception
  5. Shutter Island
  6. The Wolf of Wall Street
  7. Revolutionary Road
  8. Django Unchained
  9. This Boy’s Life
  10. Titanic  

Archiveable films

1993- This Boy’s Life
1993- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
1997- Titanic
2002- The Gangs of New York
2002- Catch Me If You Can
2004- The Aviator
2006- The Departed
2006- Blood Diamond
2008- Revolutionary Road
2010- Shutter Island
2010- Inception
2012- Django Unchained
2013- The Wolf of Wall Street
2015- The Revenant