Six Academy Awards and five Oscar nominations later, Leonardo DiCaprio finally took his mark as Best Actor (2016) for the movie The Revenant.
The subject of numerous internet jokes and memes, the 41-year-old movie star took the stage with grins from ear-to-ear, and a gait that could only be matched by imminent success after four consecutive years of failure.
You’d think that the artist’s position as the face of Hollywood’s longest-running joke would say words dedicated to his patience and the prolonged agony he had to endure, but instead, DiCaprio decided to take a more unexpected turn, and addressed an increasingly common global issue: climate change.
He began his speech by addressing his co-star, Tom Hardy, stating, “First off to my brother in this endeavour, Mr. Tom Hardy. Tom, your fierce talent onscreen can only be surpassed by your friendship off screen.”
DiCaprio then proceeded to attribute his thanks to The Revenant’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, who claimed his second Oscar last night after garnering the award the previous year for his movie, Birdman, in 2015, “As the history of cinema unfolds, you have forged your way into [it] in these past two years – what an unbelievable talent you are.”
Next came the real words that sparked controversy amongst netizens.
“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,” he said.
“Climate change is real, and it’s 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 or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
“I feel there is a ticking clock out there. There’s a sense of urgency that we all must do something proactive about this issue,” DiCaprio pointed, “And certainly with this upcoming election, the truth is this: If you have do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in modern science or empirical truths and you will be on the wrong side of history. And we need to all join together and vote for leaders who care about the future of this civilization and the world as we know it.”
Despite his meaningful advocacy geared at better raising awareness towardsthe seemingly forgotten issue, netizens had mixed views about the actor’s choices.
It bewilders me how anyone could slam a celebrity for trying to do this vast land of sultry sin a favor, but I guess some people just don’t want to think about things that make them think, and that, in my opinion, is another issue faced by this sad, sad world today.
In 1988, DiCaprio launched the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to support environmental and sustainability issues, which has granted over $30 million to projects in more than 44 countries.
Stolworthy, J. (February, 2015). Leonardo DiCaprio tackles climate change in Oscars acceptance speech, doesn’t mention how long he waited to win. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/oscars/oscars-2016-leonardo-dicaprio-tackles-climate-change-in-acceptance-speech-doesnt-acknowledge-how-a6902801.html#gig_comment_id=7af9ac496ed64fc8834ea927c460f28d
Johnson, B. (February, 2015). Mixed reactions to Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change speech. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/02/29/oscar-winner-leonardo-dicaprio-climate-change-reaction/
Renée R. Go, 11G