March 8, 2016

Why the World should Care about Leonardo DiCaprio Winning an Oscar.


Who gives a f*ck?

This was my husband’s response when I told him Leonardo DiCaprio had finally won an Oscar. It is a fair sentiment. Strictly speaking, Leo winning an Oscar really only affects him and maybe those closest to him; I mean sure we were all rooting for him, but ultimately it has no bearing on our day-to-day lives, right?

Now the fact that I am even speaking about something that has already been given plenty of media attention, may annoy some people. But I am going to go ahead and do it anyway, because there is a reason I feel the world should care, or to put it far more bluntly (following the words of my husband), why I believe the world should give a f*ck. Humour me for a moment.

Leo hadn’t won an Oscar to date. I think that the majority of us can agree that he could have easily won an Oscar for any one of his incredible roles. But the fact remains, he didn’t. Following this he could have given up or let it deter him, but instead he kept taking on more and more challenging roles, bringing life to characters and evolving as a professional. This only served to make him more deserving of an Oscar in our eyes—which is exactly why we were all paying attention to the 2016 Academy Awards.

And this is where I find myself standing at the bridge between two beautiful concepts:

There is a method to life’s madness:

Think about this for a second. Had Leo won all, or a majority of the awards he had been nominated for in the past, no one would have given two f*cks about whether or not he won this time around. I mean, we all would have thought: “Yeah, that’s about right, good work mate,” but that is about as far as our collective attention would have strayed.

But instead, people all around the world were waiting anxiously for this moment with Leo, as if his success were their own. I do not have the exact statistics, but judging by the amount of media, Facebook statuses and memes, I would have to say that this was possibly the most anyone has cared about one individual winning an Oscar. We were all there, invested in this moment as if it really meant something to us (as it turns out it would). The world collectively held its breath and waited: “and the winner is… Leonardo DiCaprio.”

The Message (making the moment count)

As Leo took to the stage, he received a standing ovation from those present and the world seemed to celebrate with him. Receiving the award, he stood before us all, no longer just on a stage, but rather an international platform, illuminated by the spotlight of our attention. And this is what he used that moment to say:

“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. Climate change is real, 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 big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for all of the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. Let us not take this planet for granted, I do not take tonight for granted…”

To me, this only goes to prove that life is wonderfully curious sometimes and always has a greater plan in mind (even if we cannot see it for ourselves). We have two choices when something doesn’t appear to go as it should, we can either lose faith and give up…or, we can push forward hoping for our moment to come. And, when that moment finally does arrive, I can only hope that we use it to do something worthwhile.

So you see, this is why we should care about Leo winning an Oscar. Not for the Oscar itself, not because we are all die-hard Leonardo DiCaprio fans (though I have to admit that he was my teenaged heart-throb), but for the fact that life purposefully positioned Leo in an extraordinary light where he then took the opportunity to say something of importance.

So here, I will follow in Leo’s footsteps and take a moment to say something that is written on my heart…

We are reaching a critical point in history for our planet and we need to stand up and pay attention (just as we did at the Oscars). We need to start acting and taking responsibility for the state of our planet. In Maori tradition (indigenous New Zealand), we have a word and concept called “Kaitiakitanga,” which governs our relationship to Mother Earth and our surroundings—it means guardianship, stewardship. This is where we need to go back to. It is all of our collective responsibility to take care of the planet in actions great and small. Everything has lead us to this moment in our history and there is so much more at stake than an Oscar. It is time to give a f*ck.





Author: Tash Pericic

Editor: Travis May

Image: Flickr/Day Donaldson


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