Leonardo DiCaprio, nominated for the “2007 Best Actor Oscar” for “Blood Diamond,” joins four other “2007 Best Actor Oscar nominees” in a class of their own. Not since the first Oscar ceremony, 79 years ago, have all five Best Actor nominees been picked from movies NOT nominated for Best Picture. “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “The Queen,” all “2007 Best Picture nominees,” failed to secure a Best Actor nomination. And the “2007 Best Actress” pool isn’t much better. The only “2007 Best Picture” nominee to offer a Best Actress contender; “The Queen,” with Helen Mirren. This is the first time in Oscar history that there has only been one Oscar nominee from both the Best Actor and Best Actress categories from all Best Picture contenders.
What does this say about “Blood Diamond?” And DiCaprio? Well, for one, that “Blood Diamond,” not a great movie, hardly any critics put it on their Top 10 lists, is more of a vehicle to showcase its strong “2007 Oscar nominated actors” – DiCaprio and Honsou.
Set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, “Blood Diamond” is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories and their circumstances are as different as any can be until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond, the kind of stone that can transform a life … or end it. Solomon, who has been taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields, finds the extraordinary gem and hides it at great risk, knowing if he is discovered, he will be killed instantly. But he also knows the diamond could not only provide the means to save his wife and daughters from a life as refugees but also help rescue his son, Dia, from an even worse fate as a child soldier. Archer, who has made his living trading diamonds for arms, learns of Solomon’s hidden stone while in prison for smuggling. He knows a diamond like this is a once-in-a-lifetime find — valuable enough to be his ticket out of Africa and away from the cycle of violence and corruption in which he has been a willing player. Enter Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an idealistic American journalist who is in Sierra Leone to uncover the truth behind conflict diamonds, exposing the complicity of diamond industry leaders who have chosen profits over principles. Maddy seeks out Archer as a source for her article, but soon finds it is he who needs her even more. With Maddy’s help, Archer and Solomon embark on a dangerous trek through rebel territory. Archer needs Solomon to find and recover the valuable pink diamond, but Solomon seeks something far more precious … his son.