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Leo’s Oscar is our Oscar

Finally. About time. Congratulations Internet, we won today. This is the moment. Good job, Leo + Internet! OMG. OMGGGGGG.

These are just some of the statements on Twitter immediately following Leonardo DiCaprio’s highly anticipated win at the 88th Oscars as Best Actor for his performance in the critically acclaimed The Revenant. His Wikipedia page was updated to reflect this milestone just seconds after his name was called at the ceremony Sunday night (Monday afternoon local time).

While the biggest controversy leading up to the ceremony is the lack of racial diversity among the nominees, it was DiCaprio’s victory that broke the Internet – a moment made more significant by camera cuts to the actor’s Titanic (1997) co-star Kate Winslet, who appeared genuinely proud of and happy for her former onscreen leading man. (The Internet already lost its mind when the pair was photographed together on the red carpet, signifying that our hearts truly do go on.)

Everybody spazzed out and collectively offered congratulatory messages on their social media accounts. Sure, that’s a sweeping and perhaps absolutely incorrect observation, but that’s how it felt like. Leo’s first-ever Oscar win is a pop culture event unlike any other in recent memory. Why? Because as the first paragraph of this article stresses, it’s about effing time.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s win at the 88th Academy Awards as Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant is a victory also felt by the citizens of social media

DiCaprio, 41, has received previous acting nominations. His first was in 1993 for his supporting role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He got lead actor noms for the Aviator (2005), Blood Diamond (2007) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2014). He lost every single time.

DiCaprio’s previous lack of Oscar gave birth to various memes

“To date, DiCaprio has won over 40 awards and has been nominated six times for an Oscar [one of which as a producer]. This is his first win. The curse is broken,” declares The Verge. Or as Yahoo Movies claims, “America – and Kate Winslet’s – long nightmare is over.”

We are all so invested in Leo’s Oscar because it really seems like a cosmic joke that the actor – who has such an incredible body of work – has, prior to this year, never been recognized by the most prestigious award-giving body for achievements in film. Receiving the award finally elevates him to the level of  Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Seymour Hoffman, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson.

As one of the biggest movie stars on the planet who consistently delivers terrific performances, it’s easy to assume that he is of that level. So it’s surprising that before The Revenant, he was not. Which is why the whole Internet has been on a massive campaign to get him that recognition. He’s our guy. And like all our other guys, we make fun of him just as much as we love him.

Right after the Oscars in 2014, this headline came out on Buzzfeed: “The Internet Has A Lot Of Emotions About Leonardo DiCaprio Not Winning An Oscar.” According to the story, “Poor Leo” trended on Twitter, along with countless of memes such as “Bad Luck Leo” and “If I Had One” that serve as humorous commentary on the enigma.

Kate Winslet looks on as DiCaprio accepts his award

These memes have apparently existed since 2011 when it was first noticed that the actor was perennially getting snubbed by the Academy. “In January 2012, the meme resurfaced on Tumblr after a clip from the 2012 Golden Globes showed DiCaprio looking forlorn, leading many to add captions imagining he was thinking about his lack of Oscar. GIFs of his movies are also often captioned so his character’s anger or sadness is due to his lack of Oscars,” knowyourmeme.com says.

So you can imagine the excitement that surrounded this momentous, if not historic, event. Leonardo DiCaprio finally won us our Oscar. Faith in humanity restored.

I’m @EdBiado on Twitter and Instagram

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