Last month, after years of waiting and losing out, Leonardo DiCaprio finally took home an Oscar. On Thursday, DiCaprio took to Instagram to thank a specific group of fans that had crafted and sent The Revenant star their own homemade Oscar — just in case Leo was on the losing end of the awards this year.
According to Maxim, a group of filmmakers from the remote Russian city of Yakutia have handcrafted an award that has been dubbed the “Siberian Oscar.” The statuette — made with the melted gold and silver jewelry of around 144 fans of DiCaprio — resembles the famed Academy Award statuette, but rather than hold a sword like the actual Oscar, the Siberian Oscar is holding a “Choron,” a three-legged goblet that represents peace.
Tatiana Yegorova, a lecturer at the Arctic Institute of Arts and Culture, who started the “Oscar for Leo!” campaign to create the statuette for Leonardo DiCaprio, said that aside from jewelry, the group also received donations of cash to help further the “Oscar for Leo!” initiative — proof that DiCaprio’s renown extended to all corners of the world. The sculpture cost around 100,000 rubles (roughly $1,300 USD) to craft, and many Yakutia women were very forthcoming with their valuables. But, they were told to donate only half and to keep half themselves so “one half will be with Leonardo DiCaprio and one half with them,” essentially giving the avid DiCaprio fans a sort of connection with the beloved actor.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who is quickly becoming a noted environmental activist, famously spoke out against climate change during his Oscar speech in February. Yakutia happens to be one of the coldest places on the planet, and as such, is particularly susceptible to climate change. In his Instagram post thanking those who sent him the Siberian Oscar, Leo DiCaprio once again took the time to speak out against the global threat, especially in regard to places like Yakutia.
“Thank you to the people of Yakutia for this wonderful gift, especially all of the women who gathered and donated the materials that went into creating the statue. As they wrote in their letter, Yakutia is home to the coldest inhabited place not only in Russia, but also on Earth – and the region is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Rising temperatures pose a major threat to its people, their way of life and their natural habitat.”
But Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t only speaking out against climate change for those living in remote Russian cities. This weekend, Leo headed over to China to speak at a news conference in Beijing — and to promote his film The Revenant, which opened in Chinese theatres on Friday to huge praise — where he lauded China for their shift towards using renewable energy sources to help combat climate change. According to the South China Morning Post, DiCaprio called China the “hero of the climate change movement,” and praised the country — which is, Leo said, along with the United States, one of the biggest contributors of carbon emissions in the world — for taking the steps to make “radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable.”
“I really think that China can be the hero of the environmental movement, they can be the hero of the climate change movement. They have an opportunity to change the world and I have all the confidence in the world that that is their intention.”
Following DiCaprio’s Oscar speech, many people criticized the actor for being a hypocrite, saying that he talks a big game about climate change, yet takes trips on super yachts and private jets. While that may be true, DiCaprio has also donated over $30 million in the last few years to help environmental causes. Not everyone may agree with Leonardo DiCaprio’s tactics, but it’s safe to say that, especially to the people of Yakutia, he has made a special impact on the world.
[Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]