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"I was surprised how much insincerity suited me. The second skin started to stick."

-- Bono, on his Fly/MacPhisto days

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Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-710

@U2, February 14, 2016
By: Fernanda Bottini


off the record, from @U2


We’re in the awards season, and I truly love this time of year. It’s a moment to celebrate music and cinema, two of my passions. Besides, it’s a great opportunity to see several of my favorite artists together, so elegant, and women wearing couture dresses on the red carpet. I really enjoy following it. I know this is very far from my world, but a girl can dream, right?

Monday is the 58th Grammy Awards, and unfortunately U2 weren’t nominated in any category this year. However, they still hold the mark for the most Grammy wins by a rock group with a total of 22 awards. I hope U2 release Songs Of Experience soon, so we can maybe see the band at the Grammys next year.

For now we can only cross our fingers for the Brit Awards on Feb. 24 and iHeart Awards on April 3.

I really feel pleasure watching films. For about two hours you can travel to another time, another place (see what I did here?). The story can take you anywhere, which is fantastic. As I teenager I was a member of the theater group at my school and it was amazing. Like magic, you can live another life. I didn’t go forward with acting. I guess I’m too shy, but I still appreciate this art.

Since everyone is talking about Leonardo DiCaprio lately, I want to share some thoughts as well. I haven’t seen all the movies that were nominated for Academy Awards yet, but I watched The Revenant because I’m a big fan of Leo’s work, and the movie’s theme drew my attention. I could be talking about perseverance or other things, but I want to highlight the Indigenous situation. It’s incredible that we’re in the 21st century and the natives are still struggling to keep their land. It’s a current problem throughout the Americas. When my father was 18, he spent a month living with the Xavantes tribe in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. He worked as a volunteer, on a church mission, and I’ve been listening to his stories my whole life. I think that’s why this issue touched my heart so much.

We can link DiCaprio to U2 on different occasions, most recently last month. During the J/P Haitian Relief Organization gala, established by actor Sean Penn, Leo outbid many artists for Bono’s guitar, paying $100,000 for the instrument.

It’s a big amount of money; he worked hard to have the guitar. Perhaps it was a way to express gratitude to Bono for attending the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala in St. Tropez. In 2014, Bono and Julian Lennon performed together during the event. Bono also donated a guitar to be auctioned that night.

In the same week of that year, Bono and Ali hosted a dinner for a new collaboration of their fashion brand Edun. DiCaprio was one of the guests at the celebration, at Bono’s villa in the French Riviera.

Bono and Leo gathered again last year to support the Global Citizen Festival in New York. During their speeches, they talked about such goals as ending extreme poverty and inequality, and fixing climate change. You can watch Bono speak here, and Leo here.

Recently, Pope Francis gave an audience to DiCaprio at the Vatican. At the time, I remembered when Bono met Pope John Paul II in 1999. As a Christian, I can’t explain this feeling. It’s very emotional to see your idols in such a beautiful experience -- they’re really blessed. Some fans don’t care about U2/Bono’s activism, but it is attractive to me, as well as Leo’s.

No, I didn’t forget about the connection to Gangs Of New York. The only movie starring Leo that featured a U2 song. “The Hands That Built America” won a Golden Globe, but not the Oscar. For me, it’s a very special song, like “Ordinary Love” from the soundtrack to Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. U2 have made so many contributions to cinema that I still want to see them win an Oscar. DiCaprio also has never won a statue from the Academy despite great performances in his career. For me, they both deserve the award. Leo’s work in The Revenant is unquestionable; I believe this is his year. I hope U2 find a film they’ll be able to build a unique relationship with to create another marvelous song for and take the Oscar home.

Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.

(c) @U2/Bottini, 2016

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