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A Hollywood heartthrob who has been in some of the biggest, best and most successful American movies of the last two decades, Leonardo DiCaprio is a rare breed of talent. Currently Martin Scorsese’s muse, DiCaprio has been improving as an actor ever since we first saw him as a little boy in Critters 3 and we will soon see him back on our screens as Jordan Belfort with his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street, which promises to play host to the bravest performance of his extraordinary career.

Scorsese has helped bring authenticity to the promising young actor and helped shackle off the stigma of Jack Dawson and Titanic, moulding him into the talented man he is today. DiCaprio has been the darling boy of some of Hollywood’s biggest directors as he has given performances for such greats as the aforementioned Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, Sam Mendes and Baz Luhrmann.

DiCaprio has been getting better with age and has a very selective eye for films, even if he has been denied an Academy Award on multiple occasions thus far (but has been nominated for another just today…). Simply put, he’s one of the best actors in the US and there is much more to him than his outrageous handsomeness.

We take a look at six of his best performance so far.

6. Jim Carroll – The Basketball Diaries

the basketball diaries

Playing Jim Carroll in the adaptation of his memoir of the same name, The Basketball Diaries is a tough, interesting movie about drug addiction amongst youths. Carroll is a promising basketball star on an unbeaten team but he plummets into heroin and prostitution because of his problematic relationship with his mother and a coach who takes liberties with the boys. It’s a movie and a role which calls for a nuanced performance that is often above an actor of that age however here DiCaprio proves just why he earned an Academy Award nomination two years prior for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

DiCaprio makes Carroll layered, complex and ultimately sympathetic. He shows the charisma that would later make him one of the biggest leading men in the world and the talent to go to some very dark places that would no doubt be very difficult to an inexperienced and young actor. Grossly underrated, The Basketball Diaries is worth seeking out and it also features a very young Mark Wahlberg in a standout supporting role.

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