Leonardo DiCaprio picked up his first BAFTA award on Sunday, winning Best Actor for his role in the revenge drama The Revenant, which also won best picture. He beat Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), and Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs). The Revenant centers on 1820s fur trader Hugh Glass, who is left for dead by members of his own hunting team. He utilizes his survival skills to trek across the wilderness in pursuit of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the former confidant who betrayed and abandoned him. This year’s BAFTA awards — which are Britain’s highest film honors — fell on Leo’s mother’s birthday, and the actor acknowledged her during his acceptance speech.
“There’s one person I have to thank,” DiCaprio said in his speech. “I would not be standing up here is it weren’t for this person. I didn’t grow up in a life of privilege – I grew up in a very rough neighborhood in East Los Angeles, and this women drove me for three hours a day to a different school to show me a different opportunity. It is her birthday today. So Mom, happy birthday. I love you very much.”
People reports that DiCaprio also thanked his costar Tom Hardy, along with the British actors he has admired over the years.
“I remember watching Tom Courtenay in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner when I was 15 years old with my father, all the way to Gary Oldman and State of Grace, which influenced an entire generation of actors. And, of course, the late great Peter O’Toole and anything that Daniel Day-Lewis has ever done.”
Leo has already earned a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his intense performance, which sees his character survive a near-fatal bear attack. Since the 2000’s, DiCaprio has received critical acclaim for his work, and he has been nominated for six Academy Awards — five for acting and one for producing. Industry insiders believe he’s likely to pick up his first acting Oscar on February 28.
DiCaprio reunited with his Titanic co-star, Kate Winslet, at the awards show, and the duo were photographed together holding their trophies. Winslet scored the Best Supporting Actress honor for her role in Steve Jobs, and she dedicated her award to women who have suffered criticism, The Guardian notes.
“When I was younger, when I was 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do OK if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts,” Winslet said. “So what I always feel in these moments is that any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher, by a friend, by even a parent, just don’t listen to any of it, because that’s what I did – I kept on going and I overcame my fears and got over my insecurities.”
It was Winslet’s third BAFTA win, as she previously won awards for Sense and Sensibility (1996) and The Reader (2009), for which she also won an Academy Award. She is nominated for yet another Oscar for her role in the biopic about the Apple mogul.
— Jess KStew (@jess_kstewart) February 15, 2016
Winslet also joked about the controversial door scene in Titanic – ya know, the one Jack could have fit on with Rose as the Titanic sank in the background. Nineteen years later, there’s till much debate about it, and even Mythbusters determined that, YES!, Rose and Jack could’ve survived. While in the press room at the 2016 BAFTA’s, Winslet asked why there’s still so much fuss about the scene.
“Do you know what’s lovely? So much time has passed that it doesn’t matter what I say now,” Winslet said. “It’s not going to be a story that causes a huge furor. It’ll just be something that makes people laugh. Thank God for time and the passing of it, that’s all I can say!”
Winslet revealed, however, that DiCaprio doesn’t feel the same about the iconic door. “He doesn’t care about the door,” she said.
DiCaprio’s gritty performance also earned The Revenant BAFTAs for Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, as well as best Cinematography and Sound, bringing its total wins to five.
Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win his first Academy Award this year?
[Images courtesy Jonathan Short/Invision/AP/Ian Gavan/Getty Images]