It is on the other side of the world; freezing cold; run by a de facto dictator; and some describe it as "backwards."
But Russia also has a thriving community of avid Leonardo DiCaprio fans who are going out of their way to ensure that their favorite actor receives the recognition he deserves: Over 100 Russian citizens are donating gold and silver to be used to make a real precious metal statue resembling an Oscar.
You see that we are not so different from the humble residents of
Part of the reason DiCaprio has such a following in Russia has to do with his heritage. His grandmother was Russian.
The citizens of Yakutia are donating any various forms of jewelry, gold and silver they can scrounge up. These precious metals and valuable will then be melted down and recast into an ersatz Oscar—a replica of the little statue given to the winning actors, directors, and producers at the Academy Awards.
Although he has enjoyed a long (started acting as a pre-teen) and successful acting career, DiCaprio has actually never won an Oscar. He has been nominated for an Academy Award six different times including his current nomination for Best Actor for his role in the 2016 film, The Revenant.
The small Siberian community not only seeks to adopt DiCaprio as one of their own but is also intent on getting their favorite son the hardware they feel he deserves. The group has formed the "Oscar to Leo!" initiative to collect the precious metals and construct the model Oscar statue. They eagerly hope that DiCaprio gets both their special gift and the real thing: his first Oscar.
There are more connections to Russia. In 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio famously met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to discuss wildlife preservation such as protecting the endangered Siberian tiger. He has been an outspoken supporter of environmental conservation efforts.
What's In an Oscar, Anyway?
If this got you thinking about whether or not these awards are made of real gold, we wondered, as well. According to InfoPlease.com,
"Currently, the Academy Award statuettes are made of gold-plated britannium, an alloy that's mostly made of tin. The very first Oscar statuettes were made of gold-plated solid bronze."
The outer plating is 24 K gold, but it sounds like the Yakutians have an even better idea!
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