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Leonardo DiCaprio at the 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon

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The 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon took place Feb. 10 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nominees gathered to have lunch, pose for photos, receive their official Academy Award nomination certificate, and do interviews. (The 86th annual Oscar ceremony takes place March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. ABC has the live U.S. telecast of the show at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.) Here is what this Oscar nominee said when doing a brief press conference interview in the Oscar Nominees Luncheon’s press room.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Actor
(“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

There’s been some controversy surrounding “The Wolf of Wall Street” because many people think that the movie glamorizes greed and decadence. Can you comment on that controversy?

There’s a lot of disgusting behavior in this movie. You can see that on screen, but it was very much a reflection of this culture, and we wanted this to be a cautionary tale. And we wanted to accurately portray this darker nature of our culture. And it was a reaction to what happened in 2008.

We, as filmmakers, wanted to display this part of humanity up on screen and the irresponsibility that came with it. Marty [Scorsese] has never been a didactic type of director that explains or spoonfeeds to an audience what the ramifications of these actions are. He goes in there and says, “Look, I’m not going to judge these characters. I’m going to show them for what they are.” And [he] purposely didn’t cut away to the victims of this type of behavior.

Ultimately, you have a protagonist at the end who doesn’t get his due and proper, but that is also a reflection of reality. And that’s what Marty does. And that’s why his films, in my opinion, are timeless, because they’re not specific to that period. It’s portraying a part of humanity in all its truth.

Those are the types of films I want to be involved in. So yeah, I think we had to put it in the context of people understanding the type of movie we wanted to make — and that was, at the end of the day, a cautionary tale.

In one of your speeches at an awards show, you apologized to your parents for things that you did. Did you watch “The Wolf of Wall Street” with your parents?

Yeah, that [what I said in the speech] was a little bit of a joke. They understand I’m playing a character here. All of us had the attitude of playing characters that had no moral compass that gave into every temptation possible and were completely consumed by power and wealth.

We kind of looked at it as a giant Hieronymus Bosch painting. It was pure debauchery, and we were Roman emperors in the middle of it. And so therefore, once you put it into that context, my parents felt the same way. It was entertaining.

How would you explain why your relationship with Martin Scorsese is working so well?

It’s easy for me. I was inspired by his work. He’s one of the first filmmakers, as a young man, I became transfixed and, as an audience member, completely enveloped in the characterization of the people he put up on screen. He inspired my whole generation. Everybody I grew up with is completely influenced and the biggest fan of his work.

I’ve learned so much about making movies and the choices that you make while making movies, what film means, what cinema means as an art form to our very culture. I continue to learn every time I work with him. I suppose his relationship with me has to do with the fact that we share similar tastes, and I’m wiling to do whatever he wants on screen.

I’ve been very fortunate that we found material through the years that we’ve both been attracted to, and I think ultimately we gained more and more trust with each other as the years have gone by. I could be lucky enough to work with him again, because it’s been a huge gift in my life.

For more info: Academy Awards website

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