Thank goodness there's a detective on the Oscar case — and the granddaddy of them all, no less: J. Edgar Hoover.
A senior sleuth is needed. As Warner Bros. releases the trailer to "J. Edgar," Clint Eastwood's latest flick starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the patriarch of the FBI, we're reminded of the lousy luck both have had at the Academy Awards of late. The mystery is why. Their work and reputations are impeccable. One of them did spectacularly well at Oscars past. Can they rally now with this impressive collaboration delving into the complex drama of one of America's most beguiling leaders?
DiCaprio has been nominated three times by Oscar voters: twice in lead ("Blood Diamond" in 2007 and "The Aviator" in 2005) and once in supporting ("What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" in 1994). He probably could've ridden "The Departed's" best picture wave to win for lead actor in 2006, but he campaigned in supporting, not wanting to compete against his rival turn in "Blood Diamond" (in which, granted, he had more screen time) — and that bid fell between the Oscar cracks. He deserved nominations for "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) and "Gangs of New York," but got skunked.
Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars, for both producing and directing best pictures "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) and "Unforgiven" (1992). He was last nominated for directing and producing best picture contender "Letters From Iwo Jima," which lost to "The Departed." Despite high expectations, Eastwood's other recent flicks failed to generate much Oscar heat: "Hereafter" (2010), "Invictus" (2009), "Gran Torino" (2008), "Changeling" (2008) and "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006).
— Tom O'Neil
Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar." Credit: Warner Bros.