Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’ve no doubt heard all about Leo DiCaprio’s monumentally underwhelming victory at the Academy Awards on Sunday. The man has finally achieved that which has been eluding him for years: his very own gloriously golden Oscar. To say it’s been a long time in the making would be a massive understatement, as the internet has been poking fun at Leo’s not-quite-good-enough attempts since he began acting in those achingly dramatic and beautifully dull movies that the Academy always loves.
It’s been a running joke for as long as I can remember that Leo would never, ever get his Oscar – no matter how hard he tried. There have been countless memes and quotes and stories over the years of Leo’s disappointment, and on some level I think we all came to just accept his fate. We would always be on #TeamLeo, but until the immensely good Oscar-bait known as The Revenant, I truly do believe there was a strong consensus that it was simply never going to happen. Luckily for him, chomping on raw cow liver, almost dying of hypothermia, and basically resorting back to the Ice Age actually did the trick. However, if we’re being honest, I’m severely disappointed.
Before continuing, I want to be absolutely clear that I adore Leo. Beyond being a superb actor, I genuinely believe he’s a really good person, and I greatly admire all of the environmental work he has been trying to do all of these years. The man is a babe, his friendship with Kate Winslet is the cutest thing ever, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get over his death in Titanic.
However, the mug I have with his face printed on it is a screen grab from Romeo + Juliet, and it’s not from one of the cute scenes where he and Claire Danes are at the Capulets’ party. The mug instead displays a shot of Leo with red eyes, runny nose, and an overall sad and pathetic expression – from the moment right when Romeo discovers that his dear, sweet Juliet is ‘dead’. It’s an awful mug, but it’s my absolute favourite, and I think that describes how a lot of the internet saw Leo’s quest for an Oscar. From the posts begging for Leo to ‘win the Superbowl’ to the hilarious game Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage, everyone seemed to delight in poking fun at the fact that Leo had never been able to achieve what some deem the pinnacle of an actor’s career. There’s no denying that everyone wanted (and expected) Leo to win this year, but there’s this bittersweet tang to the whole affair that kind of makes me want to rewatch Titanic just so I can have a valid excuse to cry.
For the entire week leading up to the Oscars and the days right after all anyone was talking about on social media was Leonardo DiCaprio and his neverending thirst for his own naked statuette. Every couple of hours another Leo post would pop up, and it honestly felt like the last week of high school: the one where everyone knows the inevitable goodbyes are coming and most of your ‘friends’ will probably never talk to you again and ‘now you’re going to have to be a responsible adult’, so you hold onto the remnants of your past exploits and giggles and try to cram another lifetime of memories into seven measly days. And then, the day after graduation (or in this case the 2016 Academy Awards) you throw out every irrelevant thing that was ever a part of that experience and move on with the rest of your life, remembering that those inside jokes that were funny just the other day really don’t apply anymore. It’s all as sad and touching as Green Day’s quintessential graduation song, “Good Riddance”.
So congratulations Leo on a well-deserved Oscar, and R.I.P. to a beautiful keystone of the meme world. If it’s any consolation, at least we can all still say we have as many Grammys as Katy Perry.