After six nominations over 22 years, Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won his Oscar – putting an end to a hundred memes, and sparking a hundred new ones. What can we learn from this instantly iconic moment?

The acceptance speech

After his standing ovation, DiCaprio thanked his co-stars and director, and then all of those people who were a part of his long journey to the podium.

I have to thank everyone from the very onset of my career. To Mr. Jones for casting me in my first film to Mr. Scorsese for teaching me so much about the cinematic art form.

DiCaprio went on to talk about The Revenant, climate change and the need to support action to protect the environment.

Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.

DiCaprio has been a long-term environmental campaigner, establishing his environmental foundation in 1998. It’s hardly surprising that he used this triumphant moment to deflect attention from his personal achievements onto a bigger issue.

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.

It’s not all me, me, me

Acting awards ceremonies may not be the obvious place to look to for career tips, but DiCaprio’s gracious speech demonstrated many qualities that serve people well in their careers. At the moment he finally achieved the accolade that had eluded him for so long, he acknowledged the importance of those who helped him in that long journey, noted how much he had learned on the way, and then used the opportunity to highlight a bigger project that he’s passionate about.

…For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.

How many of us know someone like Leonardo DiCaprio? These people don’t always get the recognition they deserve but keep on doing excellent work, regardless. They challenge themselves with a variety of roles, pushing their skills and abilities, and learning what they can from each new situation.

Career advice from a celebrity?

Stripping it back from the Hollywood trappings – the glitter, the frocks and tuxes, and a man receiving a statue for how well he pretended to survive being mauled by a bear – what can Leonardo DiCaprio teach you about your career?

Leo is a bloke who has gone through the growing pains of being a child star, become a celebrity and been considered a Romeo heartthrob. Since then he’s had a titanic career, taking a revolutionary road to the beach and his inception as an environmental champion. He’s gone from a bit part on Critters to being The Wolf on Wall Street – the Hollywood equivalent, surely, of the mailroom to the boardroom – and so he knows a thing or two about the path to success.

Four lessons from Leonardo DiCaprio

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio’s speech reminds you that nobody succeeds without the mentoring and support of many other people on the way. It encourages you to seek feedback, learn from those around you, and be a mentor to others.
  2. DiCaprio teaches you to be focused on the world and not just yourself, and to speak up about important things when you have an opportunity to be heard.
  3. He teaches you to keep working hard and learning, even if you don’t seem to be getting recognition for your achievements.
  4. Most importantly, he teaches you to never, ever give up.

In case you missed it

You can see and read Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar speech at the Oscars’ official site.

Image: Leo (CC 0.1.0)