Finally, finally, FINALLY! America breathed a sweet sigh of relief on Sunday night when our boy Leonardo DiCaprio took home a long-awaited, well-earned Oscar statue. The actor won the Academy Award for Best Actor at Sunday night's awards ceremony for his harrowing performance in The Revenant. After dozens of excellent performances, five previous nominations, and the borderline ridiculous lead-up to tonight's inevitable win — a meme-fueled campaign to get Leo his Oscar — the attendees (and Leo fans everywhere) cheered his big win.
DiCaprio did not waste his time at the mic. The 41-year-old thanked all the usual suspects: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (who won Best Director tonight for The Revenant); his "brother in this endeavor," co-star Tom Hardy; the people who took chances on him early in his career, including Martin Scorsese; and his family and friends. Then, the winner got to the crux of his message.
"Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world," DiCaprio said — a world the passionate environmental activist wants to protect from threats posed by human activities. "Climate change is real," he continued. "It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together." The star said that the film production "needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to find snow" to shoot the wintery epic. He also noted that 2015 was the hottest year on record. DiCaprio called on world leaders to work togerher in order to protect the billions of people vulnerable to the effects of global warming, including indigenous people — as well as "our children's children," and "the people out there whose voices have been drowned out." DiCaprio ended his political acceptance speech on a powerful note. "Do not take this planet for granted," he advised. "I do not take this night for granted." And neither do we, Leo.