Los Angeles: Five nominations and 23 years later, Leonardo Di Caprio's cold streak at the Oscars finally came to an end as he won the best actor trophy for his role of a wounded fur trapper seeking revenge in “The Revenant”.
The actor's role in the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- directed 1823-set film was gritty and thrilling, a territory DiCaprio has not dabbled too much.
The superstar, in his lengthy speech thanked his co-star Tom Hardy, director Inarritu for his cinematic vision and all the filmmakers, including his frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, who helped him navigate through his career.
DiCaprio, a keen environmentalist, also took the opportunity to discuss climate change and its impact on planet.
“Last I want to say this, making ‘The Revenant' was about man's relationship in the natural world... Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work together and stop procrastinating,” he said.
A self-declared vegetarian, DiCaprio, for his role of 19th-century American frontiersman Hugh Glass, a rugged mountain man fighting for survival, had to guzzle a live fish, and tuck into a bison liver.
The actor shot for six months in the inhospitable Canadian wilderness. Whether it was going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in a horse carcass, DiCaprio's real-life ordeals were no less challenging than the character he played on screen.
DiCaprio complimented Emmanuel Lubezki's breathtaking cinematography. The actor might have had Tom Hardy as a co-star, but nothing could steal the spotlight from the 41-year-old star.
The odds were in favour of DiCaprio right from the begining of the awards season as the actor was the toast of the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.
At the Oscars, he was nominated for best actor along with Bryan Cranston (‘Trumbo'), Michael Fassbender (‘Steve Jobs'), Eddie Redmayne (‘The Danish Girl') and Matt Damon (‘The Martian').
Although the race was tough, DiCaprio's physically gruelling performance, star power, and the growing narrative that he is long overdue for an Oscar win, propelled his win at the 88th Academy Awards.
This was the sixth Academy Award nomination for the actor, who earned his first nomination in 1994 for his breakthrough role in “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” at the age of 22.
As Johnny Depp's developmentally disabled younger brother, he received a nod for best supporting actor. Tommy Lee Jones took home the award that night for “The Fugitive.”
In 2005, Leo was nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his part in “The Aviator” and even developed obsessive- compulsive disorder while preparing for his role of billionaire recluse Howard Hughes. But he was trumped by Jamie Foxx, who took home the statue for his portrayal of Ray Charles in “Ray”.
DiCaprio was once again in the running to take home an Oscar for his role in “Blood Diamond” but returned empty-handed.