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Spotlight wins best picture at Academy Awards and DiCaprio finally wins first Oscar

Spotlight wins best picture at Academy Awards and DiCaprio finally wins first Oscar

Spotlight won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture

The journalism drama Spotlight took the best picture prize at the Academy Awards on Sunday (28 February) over the favored The Revenant which won the Oscar for best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Spotlight tells the real-life story of how Boston Globe reporters exposed a wide-ranging cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

‘We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable, and for the survivors whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration,’ director and co-writer Tom McCarthy said as he accepted the Oscar. ‘We have to make sure this never happens again.’

Leonardo DiCaprio, up for an Oscar for the sixth time, finally won for the first time for his lead actor performance in The Revenant.

He used part of his time at the podium in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre to talk about climate change which has long been a passionate cause for the actor.

‘Climate change is real, it is happening right now,’ he said. ‘It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world… who speak for all of humanity.’

As expected, Brie Larson took home the best actress Oscar for her performance in Room while Mark Rylance won best supporting actor for his performance as a Soviet agent in Bridge of Spies over the heavily favored Sylvester Stallone.

The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander won the supporting actress Oscar for her performance as the wife of a pioneering transgender artist.

Diversity controversy

With no racial minorities in any of the four acting categories for the second consecutive year, the Academy had been criticized to such a degree that it made changes to its membership criteria in an effort to have a membership that better reflects society.

Host Chris Rock took the diversity controversy head on in an edgy opening monologue welcoming the audience to ‘the white People’s Choice awards.’

‘Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist,’ Rock said.

Rock wondered why in 88 years of Academy Awards there is so much furor over racial diversity this year when the awards were probably just as white-washed more than 70 other times in past decades including the 1960s during the height of the civil rights movement.

‘We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematography,’ he said. ‘When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.’

While black performers were not nominated this year, plenty showed up to participate in the ceremony as presenters including past Oscar winners Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman and louis Gossett Jr. as well as Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart, Pharrell Williams, and John Legend.

Complete list of winners:

Best Picture: Spotlight

Direction: The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Actress: Brie Larson, Room

Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Original Screenplay: Spotlight, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Cinematography: The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki

Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road, Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson (set decoration)

Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel

Visual Effects: Ex Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan

Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini and David White

Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

Score: The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone

Song: Writing’s on the Wall, from Spectre, Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary)

Animated Feature: Inside Out

Documentary Feature: Amy

Animated Short: Bear Story

Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Live Action Short: Stutterer