Last night was a fun reminder that, despite the claims of Jada Smith, the Oscars are indeed still everyone’s favorite award ceremony. Chris Rock killed it as host and made light of the situation (as he always does) and kept the show going. “Her man Will was not nominated for Concussion. I get it. You get mad. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right,” he said. “It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West!” Chris’s empathy for Jada was met with plenty of laughter from the audience. But controversy aside, the Oscars went pretty smoothly, and in fact, accomplished more than it generally does.
No, I’m not talking about the purple elephant in the room, but rather the one that’s generally ignored. You see, everyone’s favorite actor (for like a week) finally received his (Leonardo Dicaprio) award, but what did he do with it? Instead of gloating how he’d find a way to duplicate his accomplishments, Leo pulled a very grown-up move that 99% of the population would forgo- he addressed something that’s affecting us all, climate change.
It’s no secret that Leonardo is an outspoken activist for the prevention of climate change, in 2014, he spoke at the U.N summit to address the issue as well. “As an actor, I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems. I believe mankind has looked at climate change in that same way,” he said at the summit. “My friends, this body — perhaps more than any other gathering in human history — now faces this, but achievable task. You can make history… or be vilified by it.”
In his acceptance speech, Leo took advantage of the fact that everyone and their cousin was glued to the tv to hear what he had to say about his award. “I just want to say this — 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,”. And he’s telling the truth, a study released by NOAA confirms these claims, and leaves us wondering what the future will hold.
He later went on to say “Climate change is real, and it’s 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 who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
Regardless of whether or not Leo will win another Oscar, he took charge of a gigantic problem and thrust it into the spotlight for the world to see. By simply stating the obvious, Leo has helped boost the agenda for climate change activism and created a call to action for all of us.