Tagline: The Most Powerful Man In The World
Back in 2004, when Leonardo DiCaprio was becoming as well known for his serious roles as for playing the likes of the plucky Jack in Titantic, Oscar experts predicted that his Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator was going to be the role that won him plaudits and a little gold man. History didn’t exactly turn out that way and, though he’s without doubt a respected actor, that first Oscar remains elusive.
Will J. Edgar be his shot at gold? The stars seem (literally) aligned as he’s fulfilling all the requirements. Celebrated director? Yes indeed, with Clint Eastwood at the helm. Top notch script? Check, thanks to Dustin Lance Black (the Oscar-winning Milk). And is it a biopic? Why of course it is! DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover, from his childhood days in Washington D.C. through to his ascent to power, which culminated in a 50-year reign over the FBI and then, as these things must pass, his death. Not that you need anything else, but there was also the suggestion that Hoover was a closeted gay man, who quite possibly had more than just a platonic relationship with his longtime assistant, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). With a backstory like this, everyone else is playing for second in the Oscar stakes, right?
Possibly not. Many critics have been as cold about J. Edgar as the man was himself. Our own Richard Corliss makes the interesting comparison between another recent Eastwood misfire, Changeling, which was also based on real events, in a similar period of time, based around an A-Lister in Angelina Jolie. If anything, the star of the show here is Hammer’s Tolson, but you may feel short changed that Eastwood doesn’t delve deeply enough into their clearly intriguing history. As for Leo, the quest for a Best Actor Oscar goes on. Time, unlike the critics however, is on his side.
LIST: Top 10 Biopics