While the movie was a box office hit and a critical favorite, it didn't rack up a lot of nominations. Partly because it was viewed as a low-key work for Spielberg who by that time was making one epic movie after another. His other 2002 film, Minority Report, was similarly snubbed despite universal acclaim and box office success.
Fans of DiCaprio will point to this as one of his more joyous performances, and will say that this would have made for a great nomination.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The one scene where Brenda's family watches Sing Along with Mitch qualifies as this. Bonus points for the song that was used in the segment that was shown being an Ear Worm: "Has anybody here seen Kelly? K-E double L-Y..."
It does possibly illustrate Frank feeling at home in a family unit once more after his actual family fractured apart (the next shot is Frank watching Brenda's parents dance in the kitchen, similar to the warmth his own parents showed early on), planting the seeds that he's ready to stop running and settle down to be happy.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Christopher Walken pretty much steals the whole film with his performance as Frank's dad. A well-earned Oscar nomination.
Magnificent Bastard: Abagnale were able to con banks and the government for millions, con his way into lucrative jobs and evaded the FBI several times, often under their noses. All before he turned nineteen.
Misaimed Fandom: A bit of dislike is aimed towards Brenda for cooperating with the FBI in helping to catch Frank. Except she found out that the man she loves is a "boy" and a con artist that lied to her about everything, including that he was a Lutheran and he ran out of their engagement party, leaving her family to deal with the cops. Yes Frank was upset, but Brenda would have been committing treason otherwise and she had no reason to trust her fiancee.
Nausea Fuel: In-universe and real life, Frank sees the broken leg of a boy (he broke it in a bike accident) in the ER. It's covered in blood and it looks like the bone is visible through the break. Frank is visibly unnerved, and abruptly leaves the ER to vomit in a sink in the janitor's closet.
Frank's father breaking down in tears while remembering seeing Frank's mother onstage in a little town in France when he was a soldier during WWII and marrying her weeks later.
Also, Frank finding out his father died and that his mother has re-married and started a new family. Upon being told by Carl that his father is dead, Frank breaks down sobbing in the bathroom, and when he finds out he has a half-sister from his mother and the man she left his father for, he begs Carl to take him away when Carl shows up. He doesn't ask him to do it, he begs him to, because he's that broken.
Values Dissonance: Due to the time period, no one comments on the fact that Frank by seducing older women could have gotten them in trouble on charges of statutory rape, since he only turns nineteen at the end of the movie.
Poor Brenda. The very first moment Frank sees her...she's crying over a mistake she just got called out on. Then just as she seems to find a man she loves who helps her mend ties with her family, the FBI reveals that her fiance is a conman and lied to her about everything. In her last scene she's upset while cooperating with the FBI to catch Frank.
Frank as well. Unable to choose between which parent to live with when they divorced, he ran away from home and turned to a life of crime to support himself, wasn't able to settle down with Brenda, and was left shaken and broken after learning his father had died in an accident and his mother had re-married and started a new family without Frank's knowledge. Poor guy. At least things start looking up for him right at the end.