“So here we are. Please, everyone. Be seated. No really — sit the hell down and let me give the acceptance speech I’ve been writing since I was 19.
I have so many people to thank for this Oscar. My family. My friends. Matt Damon for becoming one of Hollywood’s least likable actors in 2015 by demonstrating everything that’s wrong with the film industry’s approach to diversity and then faking an apology by congratulating himself for ‘starting the conversation.’
There are also people I have no love for tonight. Martin Scorsese, thanks for nothing — it took me five movies to figure it out, but acting in your films isn’t like being Christoph Waltz in a Tarantino movie; you don’t get an automatic award for being your charming German self.
Speaking of which, same goes for you, Tarantino. I sliced my hand open for you. What did I get? Not even a nomination.
And finally, I owe a bare minimum of thanks to the Academy. At least you let me get this award without staging a heist as involved as ‘The Departed’ and involving hiding under A-listers’ ballgown skirts. And you’re lucky I didn’t just let it go at the 2014 ceremony and gut-punch McConaughey in his slimmed-down abs for it. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have in hopes we’d get him in another season of ‘True Detective.’ So much for that.
I might not have had to steal the Oscar, but the Academy did make me beg for it. That look I gave straight at the camera in the last frame of ‘The Revenant?’ The one that made everyone uncomfortable at the end? That wasn’t me acting. That was me imploring you with my eyes to give me something even though my performance in ‘The Revenant’ was a a matter of looking as miserable as possible at all times. That’s a tough order to fill when you’ve already spent days searching for snow only so you can freeze your ass off in it when the windchill drops to 40-below and your director demands you shoot in sequence and only in the 90 minutes of natural daylight that part of the world affords each day.
Sitting around on those cold nights on the southernmost tip of Argentina gave me plenty of time to think about just how little I was working for this award tonight compared to all the other times I tried to get the Academy’s attention.
Who knew all I’d have to do is get mauled by a bear and suffer for two hours afterward to win this? Conquering a South African accent in ‘Blood Diamond’ or clearly explaining the dream infiltration process in ‘Inception’ weren’t enough for you. I win for eating a raw fish straight out of the river in ‘Revenant,’ but getting Jonah Hill to swallow a live goldfish in ‘Wolf on Wall Street,’ doesn’t get anything. If I’d had known you give Oscars to actors who cauterizing their own necks, I wouldn’t have put mine on the line in roles as risky as the ones I played, like a heroin-addicted teenager in ‘The Basketball Diaries’ or despicable slave owner Calvin Candy in ‘Django Unchained.’
Which reminds me: Thanks to the award show editors for deciding my entire ‘Revenant’ performance could be summed up in that clip of me telling my movie-script son that the color of his skin is the only thing people see. Apropos for this #OscarsSoWhite, but not exactly what I wanted to be remembered for this year.
Maybe you didn’t really want to award me for my ‘Revenant’ performance — though if you think about ‘Revenant’ being something that simply can’t die, that’s definitely a way to describe my Oscar dreams. Maybe you decided the Revenant was as good an excuse as any to make up for the years of neglect since my 1994 nomination. If that’s the case, where’s Spike Lee’s Oscar for ‘Chi-raq?’ Fine, the movie wasn’t that good, but doesn’t it offer you a chance for redemption after ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ beat out ‘Do The Right Thing’ in 1990?
This wouldn’t be an Oscar speech without a call for social justice, of course. Unlike Matt Damon, I’ll actually let people like Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs talk about diversity in Hollywood without interrupting them. And no, this isn’t where I stump for environmentalism — I’ll be tweeting about that later when I need a reason to get away from Taylor Swift at the Vanity Fair party. Someone let me know if this Oscar was made from responsibly-sourced materials, please.
No: Tonight I rather discuss Hollywood’s proclivity toward one body type over another.
‘But Leo,’ you say. ‘You’re a perfect male specimen. How can you lament Hollywood’s bias toward beautiful people?’
Because in the end, I went through hours of makeup to fatten up for ‘J. Edgar,’ and the Academy was more oblivious than most of the G-Men working for the real-life CIA father. But I starve in ‘The Revenant,’ and it’s Oscar gold. Fellow nominee Christian Bale can relate — he dropped 30 pounds for ‘The Fighter’ and won, but got nothing for gaining that excessive potbelly for ‘American Hustle.’ Am I right or am I right, Chris?
Oh, there he is. He’s busy trying to track down David O. Russell again. See, Chris? Told you Adam McKay would just take all the awards for himself. Oh, and congrats on the nom for ‘The Big Short,’ even if you didn’t win after putting America’s messed up economic systems into a glitzy film the average moviegoer could understand. I know how that feels.
But not tonight. Tonight, I’m the king of the world. So move over, Kate Winslet. There’s room enough on that door for both of us and our two Oscars combined.”