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After finally winning an Academy Award for Best Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio used his Oscar acceptance speech to focus on the issue closest to his heart, climate change.
An outspoken advocate of environmentalism, DiCaprio has been long tipped for an Oscar win, with outstanding roles in films such as The Aviator, The Wolf of Wall Street, Titanic and Gangs of New York. It was becoming somewhat of an inside joke that he hadn’t received one of the awards yet, with even an online video game being made to highlight the actors repeated near misses. The 88th Academy Awards, however, was DiCaprio’s year, as he snagged the coveted prize for his performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant.
The story of man amongst (and often against) his natural surroundings worked as the perfect platform for the actor to voice his concerns about climate change and environmental issues. Head of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an organisation which he founded in 1998 which is ‘dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants‘, it came as no surprise, but much relief, to onlookers when he chose the world’s largest platform to highlight these vital issues.
After the obligatory round of ‘thank yous’to everyone who helped him along the way, DiCaprio focused on The Revenant and the challenges which making the film presented.
Thank you all so very much. Thank you to the Academy, thank you to all of you in this room. I have to congratulate the other incredible nominees this year. ‘The Revenant’ was the product of the tireless efforts of an unbelievable cast and crew. First off, to my brother in this endeavor, Mr. Tom Hardy. Tom, your talent on screen can only be surpassed by your friendship off screen… thank you for creating a transcendent cinematic experience. Thank you to everybody at Fox and New Regency…my entire team. I have to thank everyone from the very onset of my career… To my parents, none of this would be possible without you. And to my friends, I love you dearly, you know who you are.
And lastly I just want to say this: Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.
After the furore of the Oscar build up, and all the controversy attached, it is wonderful to see that there are still performers in Hollywood who are willing to use their voice to create awareness about vital global issues. DiCaprio should be commended, as much as he is congratulated for this.