LOS ANGELES (AP) – After five nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his Oscar. And he couldn’t resist sharing it with planet Earth.
The environmentally minded actor, who was honored Sunday as best actor for “The Revenant,” split his acceptance speech between lauding colleagues including his Oscar-winning director, Alejandro Inarritu, and calling for action to combat global warming.
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now,” DiCaprio said. “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 for all people.
DiCaprio was the Oscar front-runner for his portrayal of frontiersman Hugh Glass in the revenge tale. His first acting nod, for a supporting role, came in 1994 for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” followed by lead actor nominations for “The Aviator,” ”Blood Diamond” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
It was Inarritu who finally brought him Oscar gold. The Mexican filmmaker himself had a big night, winning his second consecutive director trophy after last year’s honor for “Birdman.”
“As the history of cinema unfolds, you have forged your way into history these past two years. What an unbelievable talent you are,” DiCaprio said of the Mexican director.
He also reached back to his past to recognize others including Martin Scorsese, who directed him in several films including “Wolf” and “The Aviator.”
The director taught “me so much about the cinematic art form,” DiCaprio said.
Backstage, the actor was asked about the pre-Oscar support for him, including on social media.
“It all feels incredibly surreal,” he said.
Picking up the climate-change issue again, DiCaprio said he is as obsessed with the issue as he is with filmmaking, and appreciated having the chance to reach millions of Oscar viewers with his message.
“I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for what happened tonight, but I feel there is a ticking clock out there” demanding action, he said. He’s working on a documentary that has taken him around the world and put him contact with experts on the subject.
He called on voters to support leaders who recognize the peril, not those who deny science and are on what he called “the wrong side of history.”