"My new best friend Fantasia over there," the actor quipped as he opened his own speech during Variety's Power of Women event in L.A. on Thursday
As she accepted her award, Barrino, 39, suddenly became visibly distracted and turned her head, saying, "So I want to thank you ... oh my God, is that Leonardo DiCaprio?"
Pointing at the offscreen Oscar winner, 49, as the audience laughed, Barrino said, "Sorry! Keep this in the film. Hi, love you!" and waved at DiCaprio before getting back to her speech.
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Fantasia Barrino accepts her award — and gets distracted by Leonardo DiCaprio midway through her speech: "Hi! Love you!" | Variety #PowerOfWomen presented by @lifetimetv https://t.co/S6CxvFhOLO pic.twitter.com/fofBEeSsDG
— Variety (@Variety) November 17, 2023
Also during her speech, Barrino said she "didn't think that [she] would come this far," and thanked Celie, her character in The Color Purple both on Broadway and the upcoming film adaption, which will mark her big-screen debut.
And while she admitted she "didn't want to play this role again" because she it "would bring up some certain things in my life that I thought I was over," she changed her mind when she thought about the wide impact it would have.
"When they called me, I said, 'I cannot do it. I'm married. I'm happy. No thanks,' " Barrino recalled. "But I had to for every young lady that has been through certain things that I've been through. Not even [just] the young ladies — there are some ladies that are a lot older than me that say, 'Thank you for sharing your story.' "
The American Idol season 3 winner concluded, "This award goes to Celie and my daughter, and every young lady that's gonna go through some things. But it doesn't matter what you go through, baby. We fall down, but we get back up. You Google me. I fell, but I'm up."
During DiCaprio's speech at the Power of Women event, he praised his "very good friend" Gladstone, 37, not only for her "shape-shifting" performance as Mollie Burkhart in the Martin Scorsese epic Killers of the Flower Moon, but for her activism as well.
"Her tireless and passionate efforts reflect a commitment to rectifying systematic issues within our country and tribal communities," he said. "Her work with the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, a native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian women, is a deep part of who she is."
DiCaprio went on to tell Gladstone that he is "filled with immense pride we were able to tell this story together — that we did this film together."
"It was a necessary truth," he added. "It was truth about how much has been stolen from the Native Americans, the systematic violence towards Native women, and a story that at its very heart is a microcosm of the ongoing persecution of the Native Americans that still exists today."
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