One of the most recognizable names in the movie industry is Leonardo DiCaprio. He has starred in many our generation’s most well known films like “Titanic,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Inception,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and more. It may seem hard to believe that, before 2016, he had never won an Oscar.
Over a lifetime in the industry, DiCaprio has been nominated for 161 awards. Of those 161, six were Academy Award nominations. So this year’s best actor award for his performance in “The Revenant” was a long time coming.
All eyes were on him as he gave his acceptance speech. DiCaprio had to fit appreciation of a lifetime’s worth of supporters into the 45 seconds allotted for his speech. He began with the usual thanks to the cast and crew, naming actors and friends to whom he owed a part of his success.
DiCaprio took an unexpected turn with his speech at the end, as he spoke to the importance of supporting environmentalism. He said, “‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship with the natural world,” and he proceeded to talk more about global warming. He said that in the making of the movie, they had to go to extreme measures to find snow due to climate change. He specified that climate change is “the most urgent threat facing our entire species” and called to viewers that they must act fast to reverse damage we have done to the earth. Furthermore, he encouraged Americans to support political leaders who will work to accomplish this end.
Along with supporting leaders like Al Gore, who has spearheaded the global warming cause, DiCaprio has made many educational films about his cause and started his own foundation. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has been advocating for earth’s wildlife since 1998. It uses social media platforms, grant making programs, and public campaigning to inspire the masses to become invested in environmental issues. In addition, it backs political candidates who will prioritize environmental issues in their campaigns.
It may seem surprising that after waiting a lifetime to win an Academy Award, DiCaprio would spend time in his acceptance speech campaigning for a change in the mindsets of many who are not invested in his cause. However, after almost 20 years of being so committed to preserving the environment and making a movie set in such a place he has been determined to save, his acceptance speech is all the more relevant.
Reaching 34.4 million viewers this year, the Oscars award show is one of the most watched live television events every year, and the best actor award is the most anticipated and talked about awards of the night. In addition, DiCaprio was the talk of the show. Everyone wondered whether or not he would win his first Oscar and all were on the edge of their seats awaiting the answer to the question that had been on their lips for weeks: will Leo finally win? Knowing his speech was highly anticipated and being a truly devoted environmental activist, DiCaprio took the opportunity to hit the United States when they least expected it.