After enduring freezing winters, horse-carcass sleeping bags and a gruesome bear attack,
Following 20-plus years of disappointments at the
His long-sought-after win was greeted by a heartfelt standing ovation by the appreciative crowd. DiCaprio seized the moment with a speecH that was both personal and political.
DiCaprio thanked his brother in this endeavor, Tom Hardy, and the cinematic genius of Iñárritu. But he also used his acceptance speech to talk about climate change, explaining that the production had to go to the tip of South America to find enough snow to complete "The Revenant."
"Climate change is real," he said. "Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take this evening for granted."
DiCaprio had been nominated four other times before, thrice for lead actor, but it took his grueling role in "The Revenant" to push him over the top.
"Any time you're recognized it feels good, but especially for a film like this, which has been a different experience," DiCaprio, 41, told The Times in an interview before his win for the same role at the
By any calibration, DiCaprio is one of the Hollywood's leading movie stars. Most of his films, including "The Revenant," have been box-office hits and he's worked with some of the world's greatest directors, including
DiCaprio, a Los Angeles native, was first nominated as a supporting actor for 1993's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" His role as the troubled young Arnie Grape earned widespread praise, and helped launch his remarkable career.
DiCaprio's prior Oscar snubs include one of the academy's most famous. He didn't get an acting nomination for "Titanic," which won for best picture and director in 1998 and is still one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
His other acting nominations include nods for roles in 2004's "The Aviator," 2006's "Blood Diamond" and 2013's
However, other 2016 awards shows strongly hinted that this would be DiCaprio's year to finally land atop the Oscars for lead actor. He won the comparable prizes at this year's Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards.
In the lead actor category this year he beat out Bryan Cranston in "Trumbo," Matt Damon in "The Martian," Michael Fassbender in "Steve Jobs" and Eddie Redmayne in "The Danish Girl."
The cast and crew of "The Revenant" endured a notably difficult shoot, using only natural light in frigid settings in Canada and South America.
DiCaprio also had the populist wind at his back. In the run-up to the Oscars, the hashtag "#prayforleo" emerged as a trend, where fans created images of his famous roles with Oscar statues edited in as costars.