by Jessica Tharaud
4 out of 5 stars
Despite nominations in five categories—including Best Picture—”The Wolf of Wall Street” was surprisingly shut out at this year’s Academy Awards despite the amazing acting performances and the overall quality of the film. The movie had its problems, but I think that it was a masterful film that did not deserve to end up empty-handed.
Why didn’t “The Wolf of Wall Street” win any Oscars? I think it’s a combination of problems with the movie itself and just the amount of competition they were up against from other spectacular movies like “Gravity,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” and “12 Years a Slave.”
Based on a memoir, the movie details the extravagant, over-the-top lifestyle of Jordan Belfort, the founder of a corrupt stock brokerage firm that is eventually shut down for defrauding investors.
The acting was incredible. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort and Jonah Hill as his sidekick made for a powerful acting duo that played off of each other well. Both DiCaprio and Hill were nominated for Oscars—Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively—but went home empty-handed. They truly deserved their nominations, and it is a shame that neither of them won.
Another consideration in why “The Wolf of Wall Street” did not win any Oscars is its ridiculous length. The movie was a completely unnecessary three hours long. If many of the repeated scenes that focused on Belfort’s wild partying and drug use had been cut out, it would have been a much more reasonable length.
It was also noticeable that even though the film took place over many years, none of the characters ever seemed to age. DiCaprio certainly couldn’t pass for 22 at the beginning of the movie, and he didn’t seem to change much during the course of the film.
Unfortunately, the movie also places too much spotlight on a man who does not deserve it, while barely mentioning those who were devastated by the real life Belfort’s actions. Belfort is not vilified, but glorified, which is very disappointing considering that this real-life man stole money from innocent people to fuel his drug addiction and crazy lifestyle. The film clearly portrays Belfort’s descent into debauchery, but the artistic choices emphasize that his lifestyle leaves something to be desired.
The movie was humorous at unexpected times and was a marvel to see on the big screen. Despite great performances, it just wasn’t enough to beat out the competition this year. Its Oscar shutout was surprising and a sad miss once again for DiCaprio’s first Oscar win, but hopefully he’ll have better luck next time.