- Golden Globe Awards
Nominee Profile 2022: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Don’t Look Up”
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species. We need to work together and stop procrastinating,” Leonardo DiCaprio told the world audience accepting his Academy Award as Best Actor for The Revenant in 2016. Five years later DiCaprio now underlines the same urgency with a comedic/satirical take on the blindness of climate change deniers in Don’t Look Up, for which he has received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Written and directed by Golden Globe nominee Adam McKay, the Netflix film gives us DiCaprio as astronomy professor Dr. Randall Mindy. One day he and his students make an astounding discovery: a comet of substantial size is on a collision course towards Earth. The other problem? No one seems to care.
With his graduate student Kate (Golden Globe winner Jennifer Lawrence), Dr. Mindy embarks on a media tour that takes them from the office of an indifferent President Orlean (multi-Golden Globe winner Meryl Streep) to the many public forums and televised shows where nobody seems to be paying attention. The impending asteroid impact acts as a stand-in for the threat of climate change.
Absurd comedy? Not so much, DiCaprio believes. “As ridiculous as a lot of this stuff seemed, we were seeing a lot of this play out in real-time,” DiCaprio recently told The Los Angeles Times. “As covid was hitting, as the Capitol was being stormed, our art was imitating real-life… I’d been looking for a film about the climate crisis for decades now. None of them, from a narrative perspective, could create that sense of urgency. As many documentaries as I had done trying to explain the science of climate change, there is a level of inaction; people feel it’s too big of an issue for them to take on.”
The nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy represents the 13th Golden Globe nod for DiCaprio. He won three times, first for The Aviator in 2005, then for The Wolf of Wall Street (2014) and The Revenant (2016). He got noticed as a rare dramatic talent back in 1994, when barely 20, he stunned the audiences in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. A Golden Globe nod for Best Supporting Actor followed. His other notable nominations were for Titanic (1997), Catch Me If You Can (2003), Blood Diamond (2007), The Aviator (2004),The Departed (2006), J. Edgar (2012), Django Unchained (2012) and, most recently, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019).
Born in Hollywood to a German mother and an American father, DiCaprio started acting very young in TV series such as Parenthood and Growing Pains. Golden Globe winner Robert De Niro insisted on having him next to him in This Boy’s Life, a move that proved a turning point: DiCaprio was quickly recognized as an acting “phenomenon” and soon cast in Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, and Romeo + Juliet. In 1997, Golden Globe winner James Cameron’s box-office behemoth, Titanic, propelled him to global stardom. He is a constant collaborator of Martin Scorsese. Since the epic Gangs of New York, in 2002, they have made six movies together.
DiCaprio started being deeply involved with climate change issues in the last ten years and has produced a slate of documentaries on the subject, starting with The 11th Hour (2007). He has donated substantial funds to the Australian Bushfire Appeal in 2020 and serves as an ambassador for the charities Sea Legacy and Only One.
He still lives in Hollywood and just wrapped his sixth collaboration with maestro Scorsese, titled Killers of the Flower Moon, the story of greed, oil, and members of the Osage tribe murdered in the 1920s. It reads like another politically charged project for a socially engaged actor who started by being a child star, enfant-prodigy, Hollywood bad boy and sex symbol.