Though it was almost 12 a.m. on a Sunday night, the world burst into excitement as the beloved Titanic star finally won his first Academy Award on Feb. 28.
And to say that the world was thrilled is an understatement – the win nearly broke Twitter as users flocked to social media to express their excitement for Leonardo DiCaprio, generating more than 440,000 tweets per minute.
So what is it about him that the world loves so much?
“I first saw him on a TV sitcom called Growing Pains. His voice hadn’t even changed yet,” recalls Kathy Essner-Kuhn, 50, of Gulfport, Miss. “I’ve seen him grow up. He has evolved into an amazing actor.”
And he did – in 1994, the late Roger Ebert, the world’s most famous single film critic, rated What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with four out of four stars.
“Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays Arnie, the retarded kid brother, has been nominated for an Academy Award, and deserves it,” Ebert wrote. “His performance succeeds in being both convincing and likable.”
Shiny S. Patel, a Political Science major who was born about a year after Ebert’s review, excitedly explains her fascination.
“Leonardo DiCaprio is the best because you’re guaranteed quality when you see him in a film,” she says. “His dedication to social issues like global climate change and minority rights – both of which are directly applicable to me – show that he has intellect beyond the movies.”
Patel explains that DiCaprio’s attractiveness stems from his passion and diligence as an actor, but then pauses and says, “Plus, he’s honestly one of the sexiest men my eyes have come across.”
“He is handsome,” Essner-Kuhn agrees. “He’s filled out a lot [since Titanic].”
In March, he was voted by Glamour as the “Sexiest Actor Alive” for the second year in a row. People magazine also voted him as the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2006.
Mani Cavalieri, a Quora user, comments on what makes DiCaprio so attractive.
“DiCaprio’s real debut to society was in Titanic, where he was cast to play the pretty male love interest,” he writes. “Titanic became a huge cultural sensation, and DiCaprio happened to fit a certain look that was popular for teen heartthrobs in the 90s – so that pretty much cemented him in society’s eyes as a pretty young heartthrob.”
International Movie Database (IMDB) describes DiCaprio as one of the few actors in the world who has had such a diverse career, stemming from “humble beginnings,” starting out with sitcoms and low-budget horror movies.
When he finally won his award for Best Actor, the humble star did not cry for victory and demand that the Academy apologize to him for taking so long, but he urged America to “support leaders around the world… who speak for all of humanity… for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
It’s not just about brains or beauty, but also about being a decent person. Leo’s got it all, and America loves it.