After years of memes and gags at his expense, Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won his first Oscar. Nominated for his role in The Revenant as Hugh Glass, a frontiersman left for dead by his companions after being attacked by a bear, it took the actor six goes to finally get his hands on a golden statuette and he didn’t waste a second of his victory.
Speaking to TV presenters outside the ceremony earlier in the night, he seemed relatively calm and confident, despite saying “everyone’s nervous”. As the long event drew on, getting ever nearer to the Best Actor category, fans on Twitter started getting flustered and, you imagine, the nerves would have been creeping up on Leo too.
A shock could still have been pulled off, but the award went safely into the 41-year-old’s hands. This might have finally been the moment he’d been waiting for for years, but he refused to make it all about him, delivering an important message along with his thank yous.
Receiving the award from last year’s Best Actress winner Julianne Moore, he was greeted by a much-deserved standing ovation. After thanking colleagues throughout his career, friends and family, he made a plea to “let us not take this planet for granted”, speaking about climate change and his experience of the issue from working on The Revenant.
Read and watch his first Oscars acceptance speech in full below.
“Thank you, 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 for their unbelievable performances. The Revenant was a product of the tireless efforts of an unbelievable cast and crew. I got to work alongside, first off, my brother in this endeavour, Mr Tom Hardy. Tom, your fierce talent on screen can only be surpassed by your friendship off screen.
“To Mr Alejandro Iñárritu, as the history of cinema unfolds you have forged your way into history these past two years. What an unbelievable talent you are. Thank you to you and Chivo for creating a transcendent cinematic experience for all of us.
“Thank you to everyone at Fox and New Regency, in particular Arnon Milchan? You are the champion of this endeavour. My entire team. I have to thank everyone from the onset of my career. Mr Caton-Jones for casting me in my first film. Mr Scorsese for teaching me so much about the cinematic art form. To Mr Rick Yorn, thank you for helping me navigate my way through this industry, and 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 with the natural world, a world that we collectively felt, in 2015, 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 or the big corporations, but speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged peopled who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children and for those people out there who’s 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 this night for granted. Thank you so much.”