Last night, actor and eco-defender Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor in a Drama for The Revenant at the Golden Globes. He seized the opportunity during his acceptance speech to speak out for First Nations peoples, calling for recognition and protection of indigenous land around the world. Although DiCaprio’s plea isn’t very surprising, given his track record of environmental advocacy, some are criticizing the circumstances and delivery of his message.
DiCaprio’s speech, shown in the video above, starts off like many other acceptance speeches from Hollywood stars. He acknowledged the filmmakers and other actors involved in the movie as well as his family and friends for their part in supporting his work. As the orchestra music welled up, which cues the actor that his speech should be drawing to a close, DiCaprio stuttered through an impassioned plea for recognition of indigenous people everywhere.
“And lastly, I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world, “ he said. “It is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”
DiCaprio was clearly thrilled to take home a Best Actor award for the role he prepared for by reportedly sleeping in animal carcasses and eating raw bison meat. Some are calling his comments “cynical,” though, pointing out that the movie for which he gave the speech isn’t exactly a shining beacon of support for indigenous people. The film is ostensibly about a white fur trader who is left to die after a bear attack and then embarks on a journey to avenge the murder of his half-indigenous son. It’s known the film employed Native American performers from a dozen reserves in Alberta, but those folks aren’t getting much publicity outside of DiCaprio’s comments.
Regardless of the artistic value of the film, we heard what the actor had to say. As for us? We say, “You got that right, Leo.”
Lead image via Shutterstock