There was a certain buzz that ran through the air at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles last night. The Black Lives Matter movement was in full swing, Chris Rock absolutely nailed his hosting duties and Mad Max swept up six awards — a real victory for the Aussies. But there was once topic that has been the subject of banter for many, many months now. Something that became an even bigger talking point than the last award of the night: will this be the year that Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY wins that coveted gold statue?
Well, he’s done it. And in what fashion. A 30-second standing ovation, his long time friend and collaborator Kate Winslet bursting into tears. The moment quickly became the most tweeted moment in Oscars telecast history: a whopping 440,000 tweets per minute, almost doubling 2014 Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity selfie.
All of those occurrences were secondary, however. In his acceptance speech, The Revenant star took the opportunity to shed light on one of the biggest issues facing our planet: climate change. DiCaprio told 80 million people around the world that the threat is very real and we must act by supporting world leaders who “do not speak for the big polluters”. He also explained how Hugh Glass’ exhausting tale of survival is one man’s relationship to the natural world — making his victory all the more fitting and poetic, regarding the fact that it examines the protagonist’s perilous journey towards a goal, which ironically ties into DiCaprio’s long pursuit of an Oscar.
Leo’s victory comes after a long string of Oscar nominations, that span over two decades from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, where he co-starred alongside Johnny Depp as a developmentally disabled teenager, to The Wolf of Wall Street where he played a chauvinistic, drug-fuelled Wall Street stockbroker. In this writer’s opinion though, he should’ve been awarded 10 years ago for his work in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, where he played William Costigan, Jr. (something to be touched upon at a better time).
Whichever way you see it, whether you were with him or against him, it was a landslide victory that wasn’t months in the making but years. Leonardo DiCaprio has had an illustrious career that has seen him become the greatest actor of his generation, elegantly culminating in gold at the 2016 Oscars.