LOS ANGELES, Jan 10, (Agencies): Leonardo DiCaprio eats a piece of real bison liver in his new movie “The Revenant”, a harrowing tale of revenge and survival in a frigid setting of the American Old West.
Is this what the guy has to do to win an Oscar, after 25 years of acting and five Academy Award nominations but ultimately no statuette?
The original plan was for him to bite into a simulated organ — “this red, gelatinous sort of pancake” — but DiCaprio said no, it looked fake.
“I wanted to get the real thing,” he told NBC’s “Today” show this week.
“It was completely disgusting. My reaction is very much on screen, which is a nauseating one.”
In the latest film by acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro Inarritu, DiCaprio, 41, plays a fur trapper named Hugh Glass out on the frontier of 1820s America. The movie, which came out Friday in North America, is based on a true story.
Glass is betrayed by colleagues who rob him, leave him for dead — buried alive — and kill his half-Indian son. Glass must then survive on his own, without a weapon, in a harsh, frozen landscape, with just one thing on his mind: revenge.
DiCaprio said the movie, which has enjoyed strong reviews and a string of nominations in Hollywood awards season, captures “the poetry of what it means to have all the chips stacked against you, to have very little chance of survival and this triumph of the human spirit.”
The ordeal DiCaprio endures as Glass is a far cry from his role as a flashback teen version of a rich man named Mason Capwell on the soap opera “Santa Barbara,” which aired in the 1980s and 90s.
DiCaprio shot to global fame with “Gilbert Grape” in 1993, playing alongside Johnny Depp.
“The Revenant” marks a powerful return for Inarritu, whose film “Birdman” about a washed-up actor trying to make a comeback on Broadway won four Oscars last year, including best film and best director.
The new flick brings together heart-stopping action scenes by master cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and fabulous footage of a snowy wilderness filmed in natural light.
The special effects are excellent, be it a scene of Glass fighting a grizzly bear or plunging off a cliff on horseback.
But Glass’s journey is also an emotional one, fueled by fear, hunger for vengeance and the pain of having lost his entire family.
The film handicapping website Goldderby.com says that thanks to his portrayal of Glass, DiCaprio is very likely to win the prize for best actor in a dramatic role at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, and best actor at the Oscars on Feb 28.
A favorite actor of Martin Scorsese (“Gangs of New York,” “Shutter Island,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), DiCaprio has won two Golden Globes, for his work in the latter and in “The Aviator”.
He has come up empty-handed with his five Oscar nominations, however.
But his time may have come because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on who gets the coveted statuettes, has a soft spot for actors in physically demanding roles.
That of Glass is an example par excellence. DiCaprio described the filming, done in Canada and Argentina, as the hardest he has ever done.
“We had a massive crew that had to logistically move from these remote locations through these incredibly harsh winter landscapes,” he said.
“Like these fur trappers, we had to adapt to our environment.”
To wit: DiCaprio was forced to film buck-naked in the snow, climb snow-covered mountains in sub-freezing temperatures wearing thick furs, spend hours lying still in the cold, or swim in frozen rivers. Then there was the bit with the raw bison liver.
“The Revenant,” which cost nearly $135 million, gets a thumbs-up from 81 percent of film critics who see it, according to Rottentomatoes.com.
It seems set to be a box-office success as well: Its first-weekend revenue is forecast at around $35-40 million.
A blustery bad boy is set to crash Hollywood’s red carpets this awards season and he’s already taking the town by storm. Shows like the Golden Globes are putting proper protection in place, while celebs, of course, will be stressing about how they look.
They call this hombre El Nino — a rare wet-weather phenomenon up from southern climes — and he blew in amid a flood of publicity this past week, with no plans to leave before making a likely splash at the Oscars on Feb 28.
If Los Angeles has a hard time with rain, Hollywood pageants have it even worse: The world’s most beautiful people in their fanciest designer attire do NOT want to get wet before their close-ups. Nor do the masses of media folks, with their expensive equipment, who beam these gilded images around the globe.
“It is a big deal,” veteran Golden Globes producer Barry Adelman said of rain on show day — a slight possibility for Sunday’s 73rd annual Globes, say forecasters.
Adelman recalled the 2010 Golden Globes, when a storm arrived sooner than expected and soaked the red carpet just as stars were arriving.
“It was not a happy time with everybody trudging around under umbrellas,” he said. “We don’t want that to ever happen again.”
This year, plastic tents already stand over the Globes’ arrival areas, and Adelman said they would stay up through Sunday. “We’re not taking the tent down yet,” he said.
Cheryl Cecchetto, who has produced the Academy Awards’ Governors Ball for more than two decades, said she puts her rain contingency plan in place if there’s even a drop of drizzle in the five-day forecast.
“Then, sometimes only hours before guest arrival, I can have it all removed if the weather takes a turn for the better,” she said.
The Academy Awards suffered a minor rain-related mishap during arrivals last year when water pooled on the protective tent above the red carpet and came gushing down on a group of reporters. Organizers say a brand-new rain cover is being readied for February’s show, which will occur at the expected height of El Nino storminess in Southern California.
The Grammys (Feb 15) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jan 30) also are ready for rain. The Grammy red carpet is traditionally tented, regardless of the weather. The SAG Awards, too, keeps its arrivals area covered.
Tenting requires additional lighting and heating considerations, but SAG Awards spokeswoman Rosalind Jarrett Sepulveda says there’s a silver lining.
“It enables us to float a scrim above the still photography area,” she said, “making for beautiful fashion photos.”
With El Nino expected to bring uncharacteristically heavy rain to drought-stricken California through March, stars and their stylists would be wise to factor the extra moisture into their red carpet looks.
The bottoms of long dresses and trousers might get wet, but Living Proof’s Michael Shaun Corby said it’s essential to keep hair camera-ready. Guys might opt for a slick, retro side part with extra gel, while women should remember that curls get curlier (and frizz gets frizzier) when the air is damp. Consider a tight braid or sleek updo, Corby said. And don’t wear bangs or long hair down — that only spreads the dampness.
“Once the hair is wet,” Corby said, “everything goes to hell.”