Leonardo’s breakthrough celebration for Best Actor ends an Oscar drought that stretches back to 1994.
He was nominated for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that same year, 2005’s The Aviator, 2007’s Blood Diamond, and also 2014’s The Wolf of Wall Street without success.
If there was any doubt that this wouldn’t finally be Leonardo’s year, it was surely quashed when his revered auteur Alejandro Gonzalez accepted his prize for Best Director.
“Leonardo you are The Revenant. Thankyou for giving your soul, your art, your life.”
Leonardo, 41, thanked a long list of mentors, and cast and crew from The Revenant, but he reserved most of his overdue Oscar speech to shine the spotlight on climate change, a topic he’s championed for years.
“Making The Revenant was about the relationship between man and nature,” says Leonardo.
“Climate change is real. It’s happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat affecting our species.
“Let us not taking this planet for granted; I do not take tonight for granted.”
In other major awards, Brie Larson won for Best Actress for her stunning performance in The Room as a woman held captive for years with her young son.
It was the first Oscar nomination for the 26-year-old California native, who has been acting since she was 10.
One of the biggest surprises of the star-studded night was that The Revenant was pipped for Best Picture by Spotlight, the story of the Boston Globe’s investigation that uncovered pedophilia in the Cathlolic Church.
It was the second Oscar of the night for Spotlight after it also won the award for Best Original Screenplay.