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Leonardo DiCaprio (finally) takes the Best Actor prize for 'The Revenant'

DiCaprio has won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in the film 'The Revenant.' 'I felt that this is one of the greatest actors,' his director for 'Revenant,' Alejandro G. Iñárritu, said of DiCaprio's work in the film.

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    Leonardo DiCaprio stars in 'The Revenant.'
    Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox/AP
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Leonardo DiCaprio has won the Oscar for Best Actor.

The actor has won the Best Actor statuette for his role as nineteenth-century figure Hugh Glass, who guides a party of trappers through the dangerous wilderness of 19th-century South Dakota. Glass is brutally mauled by a bear and left for dead by his companions. 

DiCaprio takes the prize after being nominated several times, both for his work onscreen (as with his Best Actor nominations for the movies “Blood Diamond" and "The Aviator," among others) and for his work as a producer, as with his nomination for the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

His first Oscar nomination came for the 1993 film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” for which he was considered for the Best Supporting Actor prize.

Monitor movie critic Peter Rainer wrote of DiCaprio’s performance in the film "Revenant," “DiCaprio has by now shucked his hyperyouthfulness and aged into someone who can convincingly play a mountain man complete with shaggy beard ... Still, his Glass is a fragile stick figure amid the rugged, snow-capped terrain.” 

Filming “The Revenant,” which is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, was a famously arduous process, but DiCaprio told the Associated Press that the shoot reminded him how much a person can get through.

“When you're out in the elements like this – and there are people who have much harder jobs than people making a movie – but you just appreciate the endurance of man and how we're able to adapt to circumstances," the actor said. "You're signing on to find elements that will ultimately transform the narrative and find the poetry. ... It was all basically us really putting ourselves in this environment and seeing what happens.”

Director Iñárritu called DiCaprio “one of the greatest actors.”

“Leo thinks like a filmmaker more than an actor," he told the AP. "He understands the whole. He was able to be not only a machine doing exactly what we agreed in a natural way but at the same time be absolutely present to react to any improvisation.”

DiCaprio used part of his acceptance speech to talk about climate change:

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 happening right now. 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, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. 

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