The world (and internet) rejoiced as Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar last night. Six nominations and two decades later, Leo’s epic journey to win an Oscar is well-deserved, and fans anticipated a lengthy speech to make up for all this time. Yet his acceptance speech warmed the hearts of viewers all around the world, because it was about an issue close to his heart: the warming planet.
Although Leo was wearing black tie instead of the bear fur he donned in “The Revenant,” the film he won for, his message was not far different from Hugh Glass, his character inside the fur. It’s pretty amazing that after all of those years of not winning, Leo dedicated his speech to something greater than himself, his career, and the Academy: the fight against climate change. And it’s even more amazing that Leo chose to act in “The Revenant” in the first place, even if he had a hunch that his first Oscar would come out of it. He endured chilling temperatures and primitive environments for almost half-a-year, at the age of 41!!!! I’m not even 41-years-old and I still complain about a night of camping in Yosemite last November. Forget the memes that say Leo is a cry baby — the dude is a beast. And the ferocity he brings to his award-winning acting is what he is bringing to the fight against climate change.
Earlier this month I wrote a blog post on “The Revenant” and its environmental message. Here is Leo’s own environmental message — the end of his Oscar acceptance speech — from last night:
And lastly, I just want to say this, making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world — the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production had to move to the southernmost 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 who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous peoples of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.
Lastly, Leo ended with a line to summarize his night:
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.
While many of my college friends rejoiced on Snapchat by saying “FINALLY!!!!” AND “YAAASSSSS LEOOOOO,” environmentalists were kind of feeling the same way. The Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy were enthusiastic about the content of Leo’s speech and supportive of its message:
Others did not think his speech was so extraordinary. Some climate change experts and Canadians had choice words on Leo’s comments about the warming weather on set in Calgary, Canada and snowmelt. Apparently a Chinook wind is a weather phenomenon where warm air is forced downward at the point where mountains meet the prairie. Although Leo made it sound like an effect of climate change, it’s not — it’s a very common occurrence in southern Alberta, where much of “The Revenant” was filmed.
Despite this small misunderstanding, it’s safe to say that Leo is an intelligent and passionate environmentalist. He has spoken at the United Nations Climate Summit, walked in a People’s Climate March, dedicated this year’s Golden Globes speech to the indigenous peoples in “The Revenant” and the land they care for, and now this Oscar speech. As climate change becomes an increasingly salient political issue on the global stage, we will probably see more climate speeches from Leo, and more Oscar speeches as well.
© Rissponsible Living, 2016