Leonardo DiCaprio played the eccentric, homophobic billionaire Howard Hughes with admirable zest in the Golden Globe winner The Aviator. The Martin Scorsese's biopic starts with Hughes' early filmmaking years as owner of RKO studios, but mostly focuses on his role in designing and promoting new aircraft. Hughes – before becoming a total recluse, and a nut-case – was also a ladies' man, dating beautiful actresses such as Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett, who then went on to win a Supporting Actress Oscar for that role in the film). Kate Beckinsale played Ava Gardner and Gwen Stefani Jean Harlow.
At the 62nd Golden Globe Awards, The Aviator won three Golden Globes (out of six nominations): Best Picture, Drama, Best Actor (DiCaprio) and Best Original Score (Howard Shore). The other nominated films were Closer, Hotel Rwanda, Kinsey, Finding Neverland and Million Dollar Baby whose leading actress Hilary Swank won the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama.
The Aviator marked the second time (out of five) that DiCaprio and Scorsese worked together after Gangs of New York (2002), a very prolific collaboration which culminated with The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013.
Charlize Theron presented DiCaprio with the Golden Globe. “I'm incredibly honored,” said the actor, “my thanks to the HFPA... and to Michael Mann and John Logan for their intricate script...” Up to that point, nobody knew that Mann, who was supposed to direct The Aviator before passing on the project to Scorsese, did a lot of uncredited re-writing on the film's script. DiCaprio went on saying: “Growing up in this business I always tried to improve my craft, and the pinnacle of all my efforts was working with the greatest filmmaker of all time, Martin Scorsese. Working with him is the best master class any actor can dream of.”
DiCaprio received an Oscar nomination for playing Howard Hughes and prevailed at the Globes over Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside), Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland) and Liam Neeson (Kinsey). Jamie Foxx would win the Academy Award for Ray.