The Aviator (2004) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Leonardo DiCaprio has had one of the most interesting careers that Hollywood has ever known. He received his first Academy Award nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), and he played “Jack” in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997). Even though he is one of the most recognizable film stars, he had to wait decades before finally winning the Oscar for The Revenant (2015). DiCaprio almost won the Oscar many years earlier for bringing Howard Hughes to life in Martin Scorsese’s epic bio-pic The Aviator (2004). Even though he failed to win the Oscar in 2005, Leonardo DiCaprio still delivered one of the greatest performances from an actor in any given year.

A Toast

The Aviator is definitely a modern epic. This film swept the craft categories at the Academy Awards because of its historically accurate art direction, sweeping cinematography, and sumptuous costumes. It is no wonder that this film would win these awards given the fact that it captures the “colorful” (pun intended) life of Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett deserved her Academy Award for bringing Katharine Hepburn to life, and Blanchett became the first person to win an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner! The real star of the show, though, is Leonardo DiCaprio because he exhibits the grandeur of Howard Hughes while also presenting his character’s vulnerability, especially when Hughes struggles to cope with his fear of germs. It is safe to say that Martin Scorsese directed one of the first modern epics of the Twenty-first Century!


Howard Hughes really was quite the character. He was an aviator, a filmmaker, and lived a very scandalous life. Even with his hardships, he still had major triumphs, especially when he made “The Hercules” (or as some would say, “The Spruce Goose.”) In spite of criticism and backlash, Howard Hughes was still very bold and innovative, and Leonardo DiCaprio did a great service by playing such an iconic figure. DiCaprio might have lost of coveted Oscar to Jamie Foxx’s performance as Ray Charles in Ray (2004), but his portrayal of Howard Hughes will always remain a favorite for Leonardo DiCaprio fans.

The Aviator (2004) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time the characters do anything involving airplanes

Take a Drink: every time the film exhibits some of Howard Hughes’ cinematic work

Drink a Shot: during every intense hand-washing scene

And be sure to Clean your Cups: every time Howard Hughes expresses his phobia for germs, especially when he spells the word Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E out loud.

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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