The moment Leonardo DiCaprio won his long-belated Oscar, the Internet lost a long-beloved meme.
We can no longer Photoshop Oscar statues into Leo’s dramatic mourning scene from Romeo and Juliet. Or scrutinize stills of DiCaprio’s (disappointed? resigned? vengeful?) “loser face” at other awards events. Or even play the vexingly impossible arcade game “Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage,” in which you chase — but never capture — that little golden man.
As the Twitter account “has Leo won an Oscar” tweeted late last evening: “yes.”
(“RIP,” one follower tweeted back.)
It’s not entirely clear why the Internet adopted DiCaprio as its Hollywood cause célèbre — he’s not exactly an underdog. (Forbes has repeatedly ranked him among the industry’s highest-paid actors.)
But it probably helps that DiCaprio’s 20-plus years of major movies have given people a whole lot of visual material to work with, a prerequisite for entry into memedom. There’s footage of him crying, crawling, seething, sighing — a one-man library of reaction GIFs, just awaiting a central narrative.
When DiCaprio failed to nab an Oscar in 2014, well: The Internet had it. Tens of thousands of people tweeted on the #poorleo hashtag, and his saga became the stuff of literal Internet legend.
To what cause will these fans turn their energies now? There are few actors quite so suited to viral remixing. Some critics have complained that Sylvester Stalone was overlooked for “Creed,” for instance, but don’t expect him to become an Internet darling.
For one thing, at age 69, he’s too old to register with the bulk of the Internet’s young meme-makers; for another, he’s rarely cried on screen — and that’s kind of critical.
At least we can expect a round of celebratory Leo GIFs before the meme-cycle moves on to another cause.
“The meme is dead,” one woman tweeted, “but his heart will go on.”
Liked that? Try these!