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Oscars Backstage: DiCaprio Advocates Climate Change Awareness, Action

Leonardo DiCaprio has won his Oscar. (Thinkstock: Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
Leonardo DiCaprio has won his Oscar. (Thinkstock: Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Despite finally winning an Academy Award on his sixth career nomination, Leonardo DiCaprio was more focused on pushing for awareness of climate change and moving people to action on the issue.

After picking up the Oscar for “The Revenant,” DiCaprio said his fame has put him in a position to advocate on the issue.

“The whole thing has been an amazing experience,” DiCaprio said, mentioning that one of the benefits of his acting success and now his Oscar win is that it will provide him a wider forum to address environmental issues. “It’s imperative we do something.”

“We are faced with an existential challenge,” DiCaprio said backstage at the Dolby Theatre Sunday night.

DiCaprio — one of Hollywood’s most popular stars — was considered a virtual lock to win the Oscar, having already won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies for the “Revenant” role, in which he plays 1820s fur trapper Hugh Glass, who battles the elements and the odds to survive after being attacked by a bear.

He said his experience shooting the film in the Canadian and Argentine wilderness brought him even closer to his belief that climate change is a critical issue.

“It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species,” he said in his on-stage acceptance speech.

DiCaprio, 41, earned his first Oscar nomination in 1994 for his supporting role as a mentally challenged boy in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”

He earned his first best actor nomination 10 years later for “Aviator,” in which he played obsessed airline tycoon Howard Hughes.

That was followed by “Blood Diamond” in 2006 and 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” for which he was also nominated as a producer for the best picture.

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