Leonardo DiCaprio made some people uneasy last night when he spoke up for the world’s indigenous people in his acceptance speech for the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes event. He won the award for his portrayal of a frontiersman in The Revenant (above).
And I think the praise was well deserved. It’s time – past time – that someone spoke up for the abused indigenous races, driven off their lands by greed and indifference and often mired in poverty, disease and crime.
Here’s what DiCaprio said:
I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film, and all the indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognize your history, and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interest and people that are out there to exploit them.
It is time that we heard your voice, and protect this planet for future generations,
Obviously it was an awkward moment. Politicial activism is not welcome at events like the Golden Globes. Organizers tried to nudge DiCaprio off the stage by playing loud exit music.
But the audience cheered and Twitter erupted with praise for the actor, who is known for his environmental activism.
I am bemused by the fame and fortune that celebrities like DiCaprio accumulate . They are talented, of course, but in a common-sense world their reward would certainly not so totally eclipse that of humanitarians, scientists, inventors and others who make important contributions to society.
So I am encouraged when a famous actor takes a stand for a good cause. To me, it compensates for their good fortune.
And when DiCaprio stands up for the Native Americans and other indigenous people, he is taking on a cause that the politicians have shamefully ignored. Perhaps his public gesture will start a much needed conversation. Especially if his film – and his performance in it – win the recognition they deserve in the Academy Awards.