Anybody out there thinking that The Aviator
might be nothing more than a whitewashed depiction of Howard Hughes’ more glamorous years would be seriously underestimating its director, Martin Scorsese. Yes, the film examines Hughes’ life when movie starlets were on his arms and his new jet designs were taking to the air, but it doesn’t shy away from the uglier stuff. Hughes died an insane germaphobe, holed up in a room he didn’t leave for years, and Scorsese takes plenty of time to show the seeds of that descent into madness. As Howard Hughes in his 20s through early 40s, Leonardo DiCaprio provides yet another reason for his detractors to shut the hell up. Looking a little like Hughes (he’s got the forehead for it), DiCaprio manages to convey the genius of the innovator, with all of the insecurities and phobias that brought him down. Give Scorsese an Oscar, and do it now!