Film Face-off: Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Tobey Maguire

Film Face-off: Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Tobey Maguire

May 13, 2013

The Great Gatsby is a classic American novel. Now that director Baz Luhrmann has breathed new life into the story with another big-screen adaptation, kids everywhere are flocking to their local five and dimes to get a hand on the original. OK, that might not be true, but it is true that on-screen stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have been friends for years after first meeting at the casting of the TV show Parenthood (1990 version).

Ah, but now friends will become enemies. That's right, when Maguire and DiCaprio sit down to read this (because you know they will), it will likely mean the end of their friendship. I just wish I could say "It's not my fault," but clearly it is. They will both hate me for destroying their friendship, and I'll have to live with it. But it's all for you!

This edition of Film Face-off pits DiCaprio vs. Maguire.


The Very Beginning

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio auditioned for the TV show Parenthood and got the role of Garry Buckman. After that show was canceled, he appeared in 23 episodes of Growing Pains as Luke, a homeless teen taken in by the Seaver family. In 1993, he costarred with Robert De Niro in This Boy's Life.

Tobey Maguire

Maguire auditioned for the TV show Parenthood and didn't get the role of Garry Buckman, but instead was handed a few lines. After that it was guest spots on RoseanneJake and the Fatman and a show called Great Scott!, which I can't remember, and I watch a lot of TV. In 1993, he was once again below DiCaprio on the depth chart in the film This Boy's Life.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. Sure, Growing Pains was in a decline when DiCaprio joined, but no one blames him for the show's demise. The only way to think of Maguire winning this category would be that he was able to put ego aside after losing out to DiCaprio, and instead embrace him as a friend. What a nice kid he must have been.


Box Office

Leonardo DiCaprio

You have heard of James Cameron's Titanic, and unfortunately some of you didn't know it was anything beyond a film starring DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. It made a lot of money. Of DiCaprio's 22 films (cameos and voice work removed), they've averaged $94 million.

Tobey Maguire

Maguire has starred in 12 films. Four of them have made over $100 million. If you remove Spider-ManSpider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 (everyone would be fine with removing the last one, right?) only Seabiscuit has crossed the $100 million mark. His average is $115 million per film.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. Look, I know it's not all about the money, but it does matter when you create an arbitrary voting system to determine which actor is better. It always has. There are a few ways to look at the numbers. Maguire's average is higher, but more importantly DiCaprio has seven films that have made over $100 million at the domestic box office. Maguire had the aid of a superhero franchise, while DiCaprio has never starred in a sequel. Thank you to Box Office Mojo for making the number crunching much easier for me.



Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio has been nominated for three Oscars (two Best Actor for Blood Diamond and Aviator, and one Supporting for What's Eating Gilbert Grape). He was nominated for eight Golden Globes, winning once for Aviator. In 1999 he won a Razzie for "Worst Screen Couple" for playing twins in The Man Behind the Iron Mask.

Tobey Maguire

Maguire was nominated for a Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama" with 2009's Brothers. He won the MTV Movie Award for "Best Kiss," but had to share it with his Spider-Man costar Kirsten Dunst. He was nominated for a Young Artists Award for Great Scott! ... I've got to see that show!

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. This one wasn't close. The biggest surprise at this point is that DiCaprio hasn't won an Oscar yet. After watching Django Unchained, I thought he had his best chance, but then he wasn't even nominated.


Best Three Films

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio's best three films are: InceptionCatch Me If You Can and The Departed. Yes, you are currently upset I didn't say Aviator and Django Unchained.

Tobey Maguire

Maguire's best three films are: Spider-Man 2Seabiscuit, and Wonder Boys. Yes, you are currently upset I didn't say The Cider House RulesPleasantville and Ice Storm.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. Why "Best Three Films"? Because it's a great conversation topic for movie geeks at bars, and because anyone can be in one or two great films, but it's hard to be in three. This is also the toughest category for me to choose a winner. Spider-Man 2 is one of my favorite superhero films, and Wonder Boys is a film I must watch once a year. DiCaprio's films impressed me more on first viewing, but I haven't watched them as many times. I am about to rewatch The Departed, once again proving that you people are crazy for being so hard on that film. It's great. Speaking of great ...


The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby. He's a mysterious playboy who throws lavish parties, all for the desperate attempt to reunite with high-society gal Daisy (Carey Mulligan), who has married another.

Tobey Maguire

Maguire plays Nick Carraway, who is trying to make a buck, and is drawn in to the crazy lifestyle of his neighbor, Gatsby. He observes the hopeful Gatsby chase after Daisy.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. Maguire is the lead of the film, but he's also a fly on the wall. Luhrmann decided to do away with F. Scott Fitzgerald's version where Nick has a relationship with Jordan Baker. The best part of Maguire's performance is the wide-eyed wonder he has once he's hobnobbing with Gatsby. While DiCaprio wins this category, I didn't find The Great Gatsby or his performance one for the ages. It's like Luhrmann wanted Gatsby to be manic, sometimes stuck in a wacky romantic comedy, other times someone we should pity or fear. The problem is I never felt the emotional connection, or hope for romance with him. But, there are still some great acting moments that DiCaprio dives headfirst into. Even thought DiCaprio wins, I never want to hear him say, "old sport" again.


OVERALL WINNER: Leonardo DiCaprio over Tobey Maguire, five to zero. It's our first clean sweep in a Film Face-off. For a second I felt sorry for Maguire. Then I remembered he's doing exactly what he wants to do, getting good work, making a lot of money, and he is married with two kids. Originally I thought this article might drive a wedge into the friendship of DiCaprio and Maguire, but now I think Maguire will pull through. Plus, DiCaprio hasn't won enough in his life. If we've learned anything, it's that we all have to try and find copies of Great Scott!

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