His character, a fur trapper called Hugo Glass, is left for dead by his hunting partners.
But he miraculously survives and embarks on a quest to escape the wilderness and get his revenge on the men who betrayed him.
Now, the creative team behind the realistic wounds in the Oscar-touted movie has revealed the secrets to Leonardo’s life-like lacerations – much to the delight of his many fans.
This picture of Leo, 41, having his prosthetics applied by English make-up artist Duncan James has been viewed more than 2.8 million times on website Imgur.
Duncan spent more than five hours each day ensuring he delivered on director Alejandro Inarriut’s brief to make the wounds “bleed” realistically and be able to be stitched closed in the same take.
The team produced several smaller cuts to apply to the actor’s face and a large deep gash, which can be seen running along the side of his head.
They also created a silicone neck appliance that could bubble and bleed. Wig lace was inserted into the ‘wound’ so it could be stitched back together during a scene in which one of Hugo’s comrades roughly sews his gaping wounds up with a needle and thread.
A chest piece that looked as if it had an exposed section of ribs was also required and several tubes were placed inside containing fake blood.
The team used “a copious amount” of make-up blood for filming and it was mixed with linseed, sunflower and crushed almonds to create the appearance of scabs on Hugo’s body.
On the days they filmed the aftermath of the bear attack, the team had a two-hour drive into the Canadian wilderness followed by more than four-and-a-half hours of make-up application.
“Our location was next to a stream in a small gully in the middle of a forest and we had a limited amount of daylight,” says make-up and prosthetic artist Siân Grigg.
“Our actor was lying in freezing mud connected to dozens of blood lines and covered in cold blood for hours.
‘Trying to keep him warm until the last minute but still have time for touch ups before the camera rolled was imperative.’
Leonardo is hotly tipped to win his first Oscar for the role after four previous unsuccessful Best Actor nominations in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1994), The Aviator (2005), Blood Diamond (2007), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2014),