In 1998, Titanic was nominated for fourteen Oscars and it won eleven, tying with Ben-Hur, and later Return of the King, as the most awarded film in Academy history. It still remains the most nominated film, beating out both Ben-Hur and Return.
The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Actress (Kate Winslet), Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Stuart), Best Song (James Horner and Will Jennings for "My Heart Will Go On"), Best Score (Horner again), Best Sound Editing (Tom Bellfort and Christopher Boyes), Best Sound (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Gary Summers and Mark Ulano), Best Art Direction (Peter Lamont and Michael D. Ford), Best Cinematography (Russell Carpenter), Best Makeup (Tina Earnshaw, Greg Cannom and Simon Thompson), Best Costume Design (Deborah Lynn Scott), Best Editing (Conrad Buff, James Cameron and Richard A. Harris) and Best Visual Effects (Robert Legato, Mark A. Lasoff, Thomas L. Fisher and Michael Kanfer). Of those it won everything except Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Makeup.
That doesn't leave a whole lot of categories unturned, but there's one glaring omission in the nomination line-up: that of a Best Actor nod for Leonardo DiCaprio.
The guy's been screwed over by the Academy countless times in his indisputably impressive career. He's been nominated four times (for What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf of Wall Street), but he's never won, and he's given at least a half-dozen other performances worthy of nods that were left un-nominated. But I imagine it must have been this Titanic snub that hurt the most, in the midst of the wealth of other nominations the film garnered - and because that's when the Academy still had the power to hurt him, as a young, hard-working lad. DiCaprio was allegedly so offended he skipped the awards entirely that year. Now that he's busy having sex with models on yachts in his free time, the sting has probably lessened.
And he really is great in the film, all open-faced innocence and gee-shucks warmth, with a sweetly artless quality that has necessarily left him as he approaches middle age. I felt bad for Leo in 1998 when it seemed that every aspect of Titanic was being lauded except his performance. I feel less bad for him now, even though the Academy has continued to disregard his career, and for far better performances. Because, after all, models and yachts.