The long-awaited win, he’s been nominated six times total – was surely a surreal moment for the actor, who received a standing ovation while making his way towards the stage.
It all stemmed from DiCaprio being just about the only major cast member from Titanict on to be nominated for an Oscar when that film won 11 awards (and that was nominated for 14).
On Sunday, at the 2016 Oscars, DiCaprio finally won his prize for Best Actor, for his work in The Revenant.
His win wasn’t exactly unexpected. DiCaprio had won every major pre-Oscar award of the 2016 awards season, including the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild award. But with DiCaprio, there’s always the sense that someone might swoop in at the last moment and win instead.
DiCaprio thanked numerous collaborators, from his Revenant co-star (and fellow nominee)Tom Hardy to Martin Scorsese, who directed DiCaprio to two previous Oscar nominations, for The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street.
But DiCaprio saved his most glowing praise for Revenant director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who’d won his second consecutive Best Director trophy earlier in the evening:
“You have forged your way into history these past two years. What an unbelievable talent you are”.
Thank you to you and [cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki] for creating a transcendent cinematic experience for all of us.”
DiCaprio concluded by talking about how The Revenant had to keep switching locations during filming, because the production team wasn’t able to find cold enough temperatures to keep going. And the longtime environmentalist tied that into the battle to stop climate change.
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work together and stop procrastinating,”
he said in the most passionate moment of his speech. “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters … but who speak for all of humanity.”
He concluded with gracious thanks
“I do not take tonight for granted” and then slipped backstage, finally an Oscar winner.