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Leonardo DiCaprio meets the Pope

Leonardo DiCaprio was granted a private meeting with the Pope on Thursday (28Jan16).

The Hollywood actor headed to Vatican City in Italy to meet with Pope Francis, and the Titanic star showed his appreciation by taking the Pontiff a gift, handing over a special book featuring the art of Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch.

During the 15-minute meeting, during which the pair reportedly discussed their shared interest in environmental issues, Leonardo showed off his heritage by thanking the religious leader in Italian and he also handed over a donation from his charity foundation for the Pope to give to a good cause.

"The actor gave the Pope a book of art from the Dutch Renaissance painter, Hieronymus Bosch, and at the end of the encounter, DiCaprio kissed the Pope's ring, and, in Italian, thanked the Holy Father for meeting with him," a Vatican spokesperson told Usmagazine.com.

Leonardo, who has Italian roots, was gifted a leather-bound copy of a book and a religious text by Pope Francis. He previously attended a mass held by the head of the Catholic Church at New York City's Madison Square Garden during the Pontiff's visit to the U.S. last year (15).

The coveted meeting marks the start of a big year for the actor, whose film The Revenant looks set to be a big winner at the Academy Awards in February (16).

Leonardo has already won trophies for his role as frontiersman Hugh Glass at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards, and is tipped to finally land himself an Oscar after losing out five times previously.

He has even been tipped for gold by his Titanic co-star Kate Winslet.

"I think you can sort of feel it, and I think that everyone wants it for him," Kate, who is also an Oscars front-runner for Best Supporting Actress, told the BBC. "It would be amazing."

She also admitting supporting Leonardo for the Best Actor Oscar is a difficult choice because his win would come at the expense of her Steve Jobs co-star Michael Fassbender.

"It's slightly difficult for me too, because Michael Fassbender has been nominated, and I was his right-hand woman for three months while we were making Steve Jobs and I saw how hard he worked," she added. "I think his performance is so extraordinary. But I think, yeah, you can sort of feel the temperature. It's probably going to be Leo's year."

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