Leonardo DiCaprio was just 19 years old when he earned his first Academy Award nomination, for portraying a developmentally disabled young man in the drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Two decades and five nominations later, he may finally be on the cusp of his first Oscar win with his role as a vengeful frontiersman in The Revenant — and he has at least one British dame in his corner.
Acclaimed actress and two-time Oscar winner Maggie Smith recently expressed her admiration for DiCaprio during a wide-ranging interview with NPR’s Fresh Air.
“You just think, God, what he went through in that movie,” Smith said of DiCaprio and The Revenant, which was shot in famously grueling conditions.
Smith went on to say she’s a longtime fan of DiCaprio, with whom she recently shared a peck on the cheek for the BAFTA Kiss Cam.
“That was the thrill for me, a real thrill because I think he’s a terrific actor,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve been rooting and voting for him since [What’s Eating] Gilbert Grape. I thought he was so amazing in that one. He was a young man, really very young boy, wasn’t he?”
Listen to Smith’s full interview, including her revealing thoughts on the pressures of acting, on the NPR website.