'The Revenant' Star Leonardo DiCaprio Finally Gets His Oscar

America — and Kate Winslet’s — long nightmare is over: After five previous attempts, Leonado DiCaprio finally has an Oscar to call his own. The 41-year-old actor chased down that dish of raw bison liver with a Best Actor trophy for his rugged performance in The Revenant, a win that was expected and yet still satisfying based on the miles DiCaprio has had to travel to get to the podium. Not that he complained about the wait. “Thank you all so very much,” he told the crowd, which had risen to its collective feet for a standing ovation. “Thank you to the Academy, thank you to all of you in this room.” (Watch our video about his speech above.)

DiCaprio’s quest for Oscar gold began way back in 1994, when he emerged from a career as a child actor on sitcoms like Growing Pains and Parenthood to earn accolades and a Supporting Actor nomination for his memorable performance as a developmentally disabled teen in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He lost that award to Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, and wound up waiting another decade to climb back into the awards conversation. (He famously missed out on a Best Actor nomination for James Cameron’s Oscar-sweeping 1996 weepie Titanic, although his co-star and off-screen buddy, Winslet, received a nod.)

Watch the full speech below:

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He returned to the ranks of Oscar nominees in 2005 for The Aviator, his sophomore collaboration with Martin Scorsese. He watched that statue go to Jamie Foxx for Ray and remained in the audience again two years later when Forest Whitaker’s Last King of Scotland performance triumphed over his own in Blood Diamond. Perhaps the hardest loss came two years ago, when DiCaprio’s turbo-charged star turn in The Wolf of Wall Street couldn’t power its way past Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. (He was also nominated — and lost — as a producer on Wolf of Wall Street.)

As a reward for suffering through all those losses (and The Revenant’s famously tortured production), Oscar voters decided it was DiCaprio’s time. And the actor was as gracious in victory as he was in his defeats, taking care to thank his fellow nominees off the top before paying homage to co-star Tom Hardy and director Alejandro González Iñárritu. “To my brother in this endeavor, Mr. Tom Hardy. Your fierce talent onscreen can only be surpassed by your friendship off-screen.” And commenting on Iñárritu’s historic back-to-back win, he remarked, “You have forged your way into history these past two years.”

DiCapro went on to honor some of the other key collaborators in his life, including Martin Scorsese and his manager, Rick Yorn. But the most dramatic moment came towards the end of his speech, when he spoke forcefully about a cause that’s long been near and dear to his heart: climate change. “The Revenant was about a man’s relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”