It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio might have a shot at winning his first Oscar early next year.
An early screening of his new film The Revenant – a violent, bleak frontier film about a man seeking to avenge his son – have generated awards season buzz from industry experts.
DiCaprio has been vocal about the work that went into the epic movie, calling it a “beautiful blur” and “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done”.
It turns out that the hard work – and the movie’s US$135 million budget – has paid off, with critics raving following a preview screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Monday night.
While The Hollywood Reporter noted that several people walked out of the gruesome two-and-a-half hour film, tastemakers are claiming it’s a lock for Best Picture.
Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has won back-to-back Oscars for Gravity and Birdman, has also been tipped to take a third award.
Praise is especially high for DiCaprio, 41, who has been nominated for an Oscar four times but never won.
“[DiCaprio] couldn’t have done a better job and looks like the man to beat in the best actor race,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg reported.
“His almost silent performance, with its incredible physical demands, is the sort Clint Eastwood might have given if he had DiCaprio’s drive and discipline as a young man.”
Although official reviews are embargoed until December 4, many audience members took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Lost creator Carlton Cuse tweeted: “Saw The Revenant yesterday. An amazing piece of filmmaking. Leo should finally win his Oscar, and Chivo [Emmanuel Lubezki] will three-peat.”
The Revenant, which was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel), hits Australian cinemas on January 7, 2016.
The Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on February 28 next year.