"Thank you for being an outsider who has and ultimately always will commit unconditionally to your vision," DiCaprio said of I rritu at the Director's Guild Awards

By Scott Huver
Updated February 07, 2016 06:05 PM
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Leonardo DiCaprio continues to make the Hollywood award ceremony rounds, this time attending the 68th Annual Directors Guild Awards, where much to the actor’s obvious delight his Revenant director Alejandro Gonzélez Iñérritu took home the evening’s top directing honor in an emotional victory.

Prior to the DGA’s membership naming its choice for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film at the end of its awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday, each of the film nominees were presented with the traditional commemorative medallion throughout the evening, and DiCaprio was on hand to introduce Gonzélez Iñérritu.

After remarking on the close personal bond he formed with his director on the physically challenging shoot, DiCaprio praised Gonzélez Iñérritu for creating a film he believes already stands alongside cinematic classics.

“He has created a groundbreaking cinematic achievement that is already part of our film history,” said Dicaprio. “The Revenant ultimately was, for everyone involved, a life-changing experience, and I want to thank you Alejandro for letting me be a part of it, for taking a chance on the film, and thank you for being an outsider who has and ultimately always will commit unconditionally to your vision. Congratulations on today’s honor, my friend.”

Following a film clip from The Revenant featuring the movie’s most startling sequence – the infamous bear attack – DiCaprio grinned admiringly, adding, “Gee, I’m getting flashbacks.”

Gonzélez Iñérritu was equally full of praise for his collaborator when he took the stage. “Leo, what can I say? To receive this from you, and those generous words,” the filmmaker began. “I think any director couldn’t be more blessed than to work with Leo. Just to survive that experience with you has been one the greatest, the best experience of my life. A true artist. A true artist.”

Later in the evening, DGA tradition would usually have had last year’s winner of the feature film trophy present this year’s award. But because the previous year’s winner was, in fact, Gonzélez Iñérritu for the Michael Keaton-starring Birdman, The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper took the stage and announced that the Mexican-born director – vying a tight race that included The Big Short‘s Adam McKay, The Martian‘s Ridely Scott, Mad Max: Fury Road‘s George Miller and Spotlight‘s Tom McCarthy – had won for the second year in row, a revelation that left Gonzélez Iñérritu visibly stunned.

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“I truly thank everybody,” said an emotional and teary-eyed Gonzélez Iñérritu as he gathered his directorial support team with him on stage. “I came here as a nominee because I was already thrilled, and I never expected to win this award, truly. I really prepared nothing.”

The filmmaker paid tribute to his late father, who he noted had died around the same time of year two years ago. “I think he’s getting some business up there to make this happen,” he said. “I miss him a lot.”

He also gave a shout out to the predominately Latino wait staff at event’s locale, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, who were effusive in their congratulations to him as he’d earlier passed through the kitchen on his way to the press photo room with DiCaprio.

“As I was walking back there, there were more than 120 Mexicans in the kitchen that serve you hot food – and that was the best party I ever had. Viva México!” he told the audience.

“That’s not the people that Donald Trump has described at all,” he added, garnering huge applause and cheers. “And this hug and this embrace that you are given me today goes to a whole Latin community in this country, all these people that live here that they contribute a lot to this country.”

Finally, as a beaming DiCaprio shot video of his director’s speech from their table, Gonzélez Iñérritu added a personal aside to his colleague. “Leo, I love you!”