If you happened to miss the Academy Awards (AKA the Oscars) this past weekend, then you probably didn’t get a chance to hear the moment when actor Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar.
The moment was already fraught with emotion, as so many in attendance were clearly happy for DiCaprio. After all, he had already had six nominations, and this time he was up for an award for Actor in a Leading Role, for his performance in ‘The Revenant.’ However, by the time he was finished giving his acceptance speech, the energy of the room was positively electric.
It started out as most of these speeches do, with thanks to the usual suspects. Then DiCaprio took the opportunity to once again attempt to garner support for a cause that is near and dear to his heart, fighting climate change. The second half of this speech went like this:
‘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 (the big corporations), but who speak for all of humanity; for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be the most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have be 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. Thanks you so very much!’
Meanwhile, the cameras were occasionally focused on the seated crowd, where all were listening with rapt attention, and some (such as Kate Winslet) were moved to tears. Once DiCaprio gave his thanks, the room erupted with the most impressive round of applause that could be heard that night. Many in the crowd were cheering on the sentiments being expressed. Perhaps, with such a large, world-wide audience, the message will resonate far beyond awards night, and DiCaprio’s message will be remembered across the planet for the importance it truly held.