On Sunday, February 28, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant. After accepting the award, DiCaprio graciously thanked the cast and crew of the film, the film industry and his family. The actor then devoted an entire minute’s worth of airtime to speaking about the threat that climate change poses to the planet.
“Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as 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,” said the 41-year-old actor.
“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.”
DiCaprio briefly choked with emotion, stuttering for a moment (and perhaps surprised that he had yet to be played offstage). Several times during the speech, the camera swung to Vice-President Joe Biden seated in the audience.
“We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations,” DiCaprio continued, “who speak for all humanity, for the indigenous people 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.”
The actor ended his speech by thanking the Academy and urging the audience “not take this planet for granted.”
A longtime supporter of environmental causes, Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to climate action. Over the past several years, DiCaprio has donated millions of dollars to conservation causes through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. In September of last year, DiCaprio pledged that both he and his Foundation will begin the process of divesting themselves of all fossil fuel assets.
In 2014, the actor was named one of the UN’s Messengers of Peace for his role in focusing worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations, specifically on climate change. Tonight, however, DiCaprio may have focused that attention on a grander scale than any of his (and likely anyone’s) previous efforts.
The Oscars are seen by an estimated 27-65 million people around the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and Kantar Media calculated that 30 seconds of commercial airtime during the Academy Awards costs roughly $1.8 million.
Don’t let this moment go to waste! Join DiCaprio’s Moment for Action to join the fight against climate change.