“Hi I’m Leonardo DiCaprio and I really need to win the Oscar. Let’s do this!” While I can’t confirm that this is how Leo is starting all of his meetings these days, that’s the text that flashes across the screen when you load up Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage, a new Web game that has made a vintage arcade-style quest of DiCaprio’s campaign to win an Academy Award for acting—and almost freezing to death so you know he really suffers for his art—in The Revenant at this year’s Academy Awards.
DiCaprio is only 41, but he’s been nominated for five acting Oscars (four times for Best Actor, once for Best Supporting Actor), which is not to mention all the Oscar-baity roles he’s taken and failed to get any recognition for. His thirst for the gold has become one of the most dominant narratives of this Oscar season. The least the academy can do is give him the external validation that has eluded him for years, forcing him to seek comfort in his enormous wealth and cadre of twentysomething model girlfriends, the argument goes. In Russia, fans are prepared to award him a special replica Oscar to ease his suffering. With this game, made by the Line Animation at Electric Theatre Collective, the crusade has certainly tipped over into meme territory if it wasn’t there already.
The video-game version of Leo is a handsome caricature, with a small mouth reminiscent of an anime cartoon but the unmistakable widow’s peak and determined brow of the flesh-and-blood DiCaprio. He must contend with pushy photographers, fellow nominee Eddie Redmayne, and, in a clever and fast bit of recent-events-incorporating handiwork, Lady Gaga, as he traverses the carpet. A bonus round recreates a crucial scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. I only wish the game designers had also included his vape cigarette and Swedish doppelgänger/secret son, further important elements of DiCaprio’s 2015–2016 awards season journey.
I hope it doesn’t bode ill for Leo that I was unable to secure him a statuette through this game, though I did manage to grab a few Golden Globes, just like the real guy.