Last week’s 88th Annual Academy Awards had the internet losing its chill. From Chris Rock’s on point political monologue targeted at the industry’s lack of diversity, to Lady Gaga’s uplifting performance about rising above sexual abuse, to Mad Max bagging the most awards.
But of course, there was one winner’s name we were all anticipating to hear. It was a name that took us over a decade to hear get called. We wanted it to be heard so bad we spent years getting a good laugh with our memes every time we didn’t hear that one name.
This year we finally go to hear Leonardo DiCaprio’s name be in the same sentence as “And the Oscar for Best Actor is…”
And his victory had us reeling so much we had to give our spinning tops a spin just to make sure we weren’t in some dream straight out of Inception.
We rejoiced over Leo’s win for his performance for The Revenant, and while this piece is not about an exploration of whether or not The Revenant was THE film for which Leo deserved the gold, it is about winning.
See, something about Leo’s victory became a life lesson for the inner Leo in all of us.
Within a few days after the victory that broke the internet, a mural on a wall in La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles summed it all up. The mural is an image of the actor holding his golden statue and the words “Never never give up” are painted in red stencil next to it.
And there it was. An image that reminds us of the value of persistence and dedication.
It’s a reminder that with enough determination we can all get to where we imagine ourselves to be. Sure, it might take over a decade and five nominations for movie roles where we captured the imagination of our audience and gave it our all, but we will still get there.
It’s a reminder to remain graceful in the face of defeat, to still applaud for the guy who got called. And then going back to work and continuing your best.
It’s a reminder not to let the defeat turn you jaded or bitter.
It’s a reminder to be thankful when the moment does finally come for you. And to use your platform to bring attention to things that affects the world.
It’s a reminder to not take anything for granted — whether it’s the planet, your moment of victory, or the people who surround you and believe you.
So whether it’s taking you longer than you expected to graduate from college, never give up.
Whether you feel like you’re a fresh graduate who can’t land the dream job, never give up.
Whether you’ve flipped the table on The Man and decided to start up on your own, never give up.
If you just got laid off but are determined to get back on your feet even if the economy is telling you it’s highly unlikely, never give up.
If you’ve been heartbroken too many times to count and feel like you’re never going to find someone who will make you believe in true love, never give up. And remember that love comes in many forms.
And when you do get that moment that makes you realize your dreams have finally come true, be grateful. Take nothing for granted. Take no one for granted. Do not let that moment tell you that you can be lax. Instead, work harder, dream new, dream bigger.
We all have yet to see where things go for Leo from this point on, but I’m confident finally having Oscar won’t keep Leo’s heads in the clouds for too long.