The road to Oscar glory for Leonardo DiCaprio was a long one. After 27 years of acting and countless snubs, he finally took one of those little gold men home for his role in The Revenant, with the 42-year-old's memorable win becoming one of the most meme-worthy events of 2016.
Playing mountain man Hugh Glass in Alejandro González Iñárritu's epic film, many believed DiCaprio deserved an Oscar nod much earlier in his career, but were nevertheless pleased he finally got the recognition he deserved from the academy. While the statuette surely looked wonderful in his trophy cabinet, it wasn't the first golden statue to reside in DiCaprio's home. However, there is now one less Oscar for him to polish on a daily basis.
Taking The Shine Off
Much like when we make our annual pilgrimage to Planet Hollywood and wish that we could own the various pieces of movie memorabilia on display, it seems celebs are no different. #LeonardoDiCaprio had in his collection Marlon Brando's Oscar from 1954's On the Waterfront, which was gifted to him from production company Red Granite Pictures. As well as producing such big-name films as Dumb and Dumber To and The Wolf Of Wall Street, it now appears Red Granite also has some shady links to government corruption and money laundering in Malaysia.
It's been revealed by multiple sources that DiCaprio has been inadvertently caught up in some Jordan Belfort-esque trouble, which has resulted in the actor voluntarily handing over to the government Brando's Oscar, a gift to him from Red Granite. While Hollywood's heartthrob appears squeaky clean on this one, it's the Brando award that is tarnished, with the US Department of Justice closing in on Red Granite and all that it has owned.
With the rights to Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg's movie Daddy's Home also under the microscope (don't worry, you can have them), the government claims the comedy was made with millions of dollars of ill-gotten finances linked to crime in Malaysia. This isn't the first we have heard about such a case. Last year it was alleged that The Wolf of Wall Street had been made with funds laundered by Red Granite through 1Malaysia Development Berhard and a complex network of shell corporations. One of the men behind this scheme is said to be Red Granite co-founder Riza Aziz.
Wolves At The Door
The Department of Justice is tracing tens of millions of dollars laundered through priceless heirlooms, real estate, jewelry and gifts to celebrities. Included in these ill-gotten gains is a rare poster from the 1927 film Metropolis, said to be worth $1.3 million, that was hanging in Aziz's office. The DOJ has also filed a lawsuit to seize millions of dollars of diamonds gifted to model Miranda Kerr from Malaysian financier and Aziz advisor Jho Low.
Sadly for DiCaprio, surrendering his Brando Oscar could be just the tip of the iceberg. Also gifted to him by Red Granite was a Picasso painting worth $3.2 million and a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage worth a cool $9.2 million.
According to a rep for DiCaprio:
“Prior to the government’s filing of the civil pleading today, Mr. DiCaprio initiated return of these items, which were received and accepted by him for the purpose of being included in an annual charity auction to benefit his eponymous foundation. He has also returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando, which was given to Mr. DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the support of the government in this effort, and continues to hope that justice is done in this matter.”
There is no news on whether DiCaprio will have to turn over the substantial fee he received for taking the lead in The Wolf of Wall Street, but he is said to be fully cooperating with the authorities and himself not under investigation.
Check our Leo in action in The Wolf of Wall Street.