In a ceremony where no single movie commanded attention, Mexico's
Alejandro Inarritu nabbed the best directing Oscar for "The
Revenant", becoming the first filmmaker in more than 60 years to win
back-to-back Academy Awards. Inarritu won in 2015 for "Birdman."
"The Revenant" went into Sunday's ceremony with a leading 12
nominations, and was among four movies believed to have the best
chances for best picture after it won Golden Globe and BAFTA
The ambitious 20th Century Fox <FOXA.O> Pioneer-era tale, shot in
sub-zero temperatures, also brought a first Oscar win for its star
Leonardo DiCaprio, who got a standing ovation from the A-list
"I do not take tonight for granted," DiCaprio said, taking the
opportunity in his acceptance speech to urge action on climate
Yet voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose
Open Road Films' <RGC.N> "Spotlight," which traces the Boston
Globe's 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of child sex abuse
by Catholic priests, for best picture. The movie also won best
"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that
voice, which we hope can become a choir that will resonate all the
way to the Vatican," said producer Michael Sugar.
Rising star Brie Larson, 26, took home the statuette for best
actress for her role as an abducted young woman in indie movie
"Room," adding to her armful of trophies from other award shows.
'JABBING AT HOLLYWOOD'
Racial themes and barbs about the selection of an all-white acting
nominee line-up for a second year were a running theme of the show,
dubbed "the white People's Choice awards" by Rock, an outspoken
He questioned why the furor over diversity in the industry had taken
root this year, rather than in the 1950s or 1960s, saying that black
Americans had "real things to protest at the time."
"We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best
cinematographer," Rock added. In a taped section, Rock visited the
Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton - the heart of the hip-hop music
industry - to ask residents if they had heard or seen the
Oscar-nominated movies. None had.
Several nominees gave Rock a thumbs-up for striking the right
balance on a tricky theme.
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"I thought it was jabbing at Hollywood, yet at the same time
even-handed, and kind of dealing with a new era of how we discuss
diversity," said Adam McKay, director and co-writer of best picture
nominee "The Big Short." "Really impressive and really funny."
Rock wasn't alone in putting people of color in the spotlight on the
movie industry's biggest night.
"I (am) very lucky to be here tonight, but unfortunately many others
haven't had the same luck," Inarritu said, expressing the hope that,
in the future, skin color would become as irrelevant as the length
of one's hair.
Among surprises, Britain's Mark Rylance beat presumed favorite and
"Creed" actor Sylvester Stallone to win the Academy Award for best
supporting actor for "Bridge of Spies."
"Sly, no matter what they say, remember, to me you are the best, you
were the winner. I'm proud of you," Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fellow
action star, said in a short video he posted online.
British singer Sam Smith's theme song for James Bond movie "Spectre"
beat Lady Gaga's sexual assault awareness ballad "Til It Happens to
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won the supporting actress Oscar for
transgender movie "The Danish Girl" while documentary "Amy," about
the late and troubled British pop star Amy Winehouse was also a
Warner Bros <TWX.N> "Mad Max: Fury Road" was the biggest winner,
clinching six Oscars, but all were in technical categories such as
costume, make-up and editing.
(Additional reporting by Nichola Groom, Lisa Richwine and Piya
Sinha-Roy:; Editing by Mary Milliken)
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