Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s greatest. Rarely does one of his films do poorly. The man is almost as good at churning out “the No. 1 movie in America” each year as Adele is at turning any lump of garbage into a triple platinum single. He’s arguably the most snubbed actor in show business despite critically acclaimed performances with directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
With appearance after appearance at some of the most publicized events on planet earth, DiCaprio is no stranger to taking the world stage. When someone becomes a professional and spends decades honing their craft, you would think they would stick to speaking about their line of work when they walk up to the microphone before a large crowd.
But no, DiCaprio dresses to the nines and speaks on behalf of indigenous communities and climate change.
At the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press bestowed DiCaprio with the Best Actor award for his portrayal of famed frontiersman Hugh Glass in “The Revenant.” A movie largely about perseverance when faced with grief, revenge and Mother Nature’s brutality, it also weaves its survival-plot around Native American life in the early 1800s.
While giving his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, DiCaprio made time to talk about a very serious topic, after he went down the list name checking various members of the Hollywood community, of course. DiCaprio said it was time “we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests.”
This isn’t the first time an actor has used an opportunity like this to get political. Usually, they tell us that water is wet and while we pump one fist in blind excitement, the other hand is already busy crafting a hashtag based on what they just said.
DiCaprio dropped out of high school. To be fair, he did get a general equivalency diploma, but that doesn’t make him any more qualified to be influencing millions of people across the globe. In what ways does a GED qualify a person to be the United Nations’ Messenger of Peace?
Despite the naysayers, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon boasted that DiCaprio is a “credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message.” Less than four months later, the actor rented the second largest luxury yacht while vacationing in St. Barts.
It seems principles only matter when awards are being handed out.
Marissa Mahoney is a Contributing Columnist for the Central Florida Future.