Leo, Djimon And Oscar

Blood Diamond premieres in London...

Leo, Djimon And Oscar

by Willow Green |
Published on

Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou stride into the ice-cold Odeon Leicester Square with beaming smiles erupting across their faces. They’ve had a rather good day, as earlier this afternoon both Leo and his co-star received Oscar nominations for their roles in Edward Zwick’s savage, political thriller Blood Diamond – which premiered in London tonight.

For DiCaprio, this is his third time up for a statue after two near misses with **What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? **and, most recently, The Aviator. Hounsou is also treading familiar ground, with today’s news raising his nomination tally to two (after In America in 2002). These two Oscar nods are not the only reasons for the Blood Diamond team to start popping the champagne corks, as extra nominations in the Editing and Sound categories leave the movie with a total of five chances to snatch Oscar glory next month – a count that equals the other DiCaprio-led, award front-runner The Departed. “They are clear winners. Clear winners!” says British actor David Harewood, who plays the murderous rebel leader Captain Poison in Blood Diamond. “I’m thrilled for both of them, but not too surprised having seen the film,” added a frozen Jennifer Connelly.

In the movie DiCaprio is Danny Archer – mercenary solider turned rogue and jewel smuggler, who sets his sights on an illustrious pink diamond, but only prisoner Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) knows where it is. Set during the Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war, Blood Diamond is a fierce, unrelenting exposé of the consequences of corporate greed within the gems for arms trade. “Shooting in Africa and being in that environment…you just can’t help but be transformed”, explains DiCaprio after an extensive walkabout, meeting his fans. “We were in places of extreme poverty, yet the people maintain such an unbelievably positive attitude. It was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss.” Hounsou – who turns in a furiously passionate performance as a man ruthlessly separated from his family – is keen to highlight why he wanted the production to go ahead: “We made the movie to shine a light on the Western operations that are going on in Africa. I just hope that all the [Oscar] nominations bring more attention to the film and the issues we raise”.

“It sounded like the Beatles had just arrived”, laughs director/producer Edward Zwick, as he comments on the screams of “Leo! Leo!” resonating around the square: “Although I have to say, I’m kind of used to this as I’ve done a film with Tom Cruise…so I’ve heard that sound before”. And what about the five Oscar nominations for his film? “Well, I hope it encourages people to go and see the film. We’re going to have a party [tonight] anyway, but I think it’s now going to have a few more rockets.”

“We’ve actually already started celebrating”, reveals DiCaprio. “We’ve toasted each other and had a group hug.” Okaaaaaay. Thankfully, just before everything turns completely Strictly Come Dancing, the actor makes clear exactly why those little gold statues can be so important: “For people to talk about this movie, let alone it get recognised like this is an honour for me and everyone involved. This is not the sort of film that comes out of the Hollywood system very often. There are films that are politically charged, but a movie on this scale is a very rare occurrence.”


Blood Diamond will be in cinemas from Friday (January 26th)

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