And as happy as I am for Leonardo DiCaprio getting 2 noms, I think it is the utmost injustice to have forgotten Matt Damon, who was just as good, or in my view, better, as his nemesis in The Departed.
Yesterday I was flipping channels and I caught two old chestnuts with these guys. One, School Ties, is a very conventional, predictable film about antisemitism at Harvard in the fifties. It has a cast of thousands; young tender things that went to become big stars: Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donell, Brendan Fraser, Anthony Rapp and Matt Damon. Damon plays a corrupt rich brat and he's the best thing in the movie. Smug, mercurial, alive, and utterly convincing. I am officially starting the campaign to stop underrating this fine actor right now. He's particularly good when he plays assholes, because his boyish, cherubic face is a good counterpoint to his talents as a meanie. Then I caught The Basketball Diaries, an over-the-top, don't-use-heroin movie, and I was taken aback at how fierce and magnetic DiCaprio is. He is astounding. I remember him as an incredibly gifted child actor who had some excellent performances in This Boy's Life and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Marvin's Room and then was kind of uneven. He was fantastic in Titanic and Catch Me if You Can, but boring and miscast in Gangs of New York and not too convincing in The Aviator. I wish he lost weight today so he could go back to that beautiful, chiseled, high cheekboned, angelic face that was made for the movies. And I hope he wins his prizes this season, just not all of them.