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Celebrity Analysis: Leonardo DiCaprio

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Connie Cacace

on 3 December 2014

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Transcript of Celebrity Analysis: Leonardo DiCaprio

For Example...
Movies are based on an averaging of public desires to make them easily digestible sources of pleasurable escape

Production of such films is made even easier when both those who create and consume them can look to a common icon who can bring them together: in this case, Leonardo DiCaprio
Adorno & Horkheimer
The culture industry essentially controls the needs of the consumer by "producing them, controlling them, disciplining them, and even withdrawing amusement"
By consuming the products of the culture industry, the average citizen is affirming everything that the industry is telling them; the expectations it creates, the reactions it fosters, etc.
The probability that the average person could become like the person they are viewing on the screen, no matter how slim, helps to reinforce their own enjoyment of the product
Adorno & Horkheimer

The Powerless Elite?
Leonardo DiCaprio’s meaning in society is not just as an actor, but also as an activist. DiCaprio’s self-transformation into an environmentalist has prompted work towards solving issues of climate change, conservation, and animal preservation.

Is he
true celebrity activist?

A Voice With a Platform
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Money as power
UN Messenger of Peace, Sept. 2014
“His global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge...Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify his message.”

Control Over His Image
Branded as “Actor and Environmentalist”

Speech to the UN:
“As an actor I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems.”
“This is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown beyond the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments around the world taking decisive, large-scale action.”
“I am not a scientist. But I don’t need to be...now is our moment for action”

Brief Biography
Born November 11, 1974 in L.A.
Featured in 26 major films
He has been nominated for 31 different awards in his career but has only won 2 Golden Globes... #GiveLeoAnOscar
Has a passion for environmental justice and is the founder of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Leonardo DiCaprio*
“The culture industry as a whole has molded men as a type unfailingly reproduced in every product.”

“…the deceived masses are today captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are.”

“The conformism of the buyers and the effrontery of the producers who supply them prevail. The result is constant reproduction of the same thing.”
Wealth (& Wealth Acquisition)
Upward Mobility
What Does the Public Want?
Leo as a Cultural Product
Leo as an Activist
Leo's Star Image
Will Leo Ever Win an Oscar?
•At the last Oscars, Leo was the most tweeted about person despite not winning an award
•His consistent "Oscar snubbing" has become a huge part of who Leo is as celebrity and a star
•Dyer claims, “Images have to be made. Stars are produced by the media industries… but then also by other agencies with which Hollywood is connected…” (p. 85)
•Being "Oscar-less" is part of Leo’s image and this construction paints him as an underdog despite his success

Economy of Leo
The Wolf of Wall Street
grossed $392 million
grossed over $825 million
Turner asserts that, “While they are cultural workers… celebrities are also property: that is, they are a financial asset to those who stand to gain from their commercialisation…”(p. 193)
Regardless of the movie, fans will see Leo's "next big hit" just because they are invested in him and his career
The perpetual Oscar-buzz surrounding Leo's films will continue to attract movie-goers, if only for that reason
The brand of "Leo" matters just as much, if not more, than his acting at this point and helps secure a film's success
To Review...
Cultural Product

Star Image

What do you think?
How do you view Leonardo DiCaprio - as an actor, an icon & an activist?
What does he represent to society?
Why do we need "Leo's" in Hollywood?
Questions to Ponder
According to Alberoni...
Powerful Elite = Politicians, lawmakers
Powerless Elite = Stars and celebrities
The Power of Charisma

DiCaprio seems to transcend Alberoni’s idea of the powerless elite.
Control Over His Man Bun...
Leo as Celebrity Citizen
Sentimentality, Effectiveness, Commodification - is he getting to the root of the problem?
The 11th Hour
Groups do rely on Leo: Natural Resources Defense Council

C. Cacace, J. LaMagna, R. Lewis, D. MacGregor
Full transcript