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‘Spotlight’ wins best picture Oscar

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Chris Rock on stage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

HOLLYWOOD – “Spotlight” took home the best picture Oscar and Leonard DiCaprio won the best actor Oscar for “The Revenant”.

DiCaprio has been nominated five times for acting Oscars, dating back to 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Acting’s highest honor has eluded him despite years of strong performances in films such as “The Aviator,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

He played fur trapper Hugh Glass in director Alejandro Inarritu’s “The Revenant,” which involved the actor plunging into icy waters and eating raw bison to portray his character’s efforts to survive in the wilderness after a bear attack.

Brie Larson won  won best actress for her performance as a kidnapped woman trying to protect her child in “Room.”

Alejandro G. Inarritu is a back-to-back Oscar winner for best director.

“The Revenant” director won the directing Academy Award Sunday for the his revenge tale, which features Leonardo DiCaprio braving icy elements to tell the 19th century survival tale about a fur trapper left for dead after a bear mauling.

The Mexican filmmaker won three Oscars at last year’s ceremony, including for best picture and writing “Birdman.” He was nominated in 2007 as best director for “Babel.” ”The Revenant” was this year’s top-nominated film.

The win is the second Oscar awarded to “The Revenant” during Sunday’s ceremony.

In a surprise, Mark Rylance won best supporting actor for his performance as a Soviet agent in “Bridge of Spies” at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The category included Sylvester Stallone, who was widely believed to be the front-runner for his performance as Rocky Balboa in “Creed” — 39 years after he first played the role in “Rocky.”

Rylance devoted a healthy chunk of his speech to praising director Steven Spielberg.

“I’ve always just adored stories … so for me to work with one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Steven Spielberg, has just been such an honor,” he said.

Alicia Vikander won best supporting actress for her performance in “The Danish Girl.”

Vikander played an artist married to a man (Eddie Redmayne) who begins more closely identifying with being a woman.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” dominated technical categories, winning six Oscars in the show’s first 90 minutes: costume design, production design, makeup, film editing, sound editing and sound mixing.

In a shocker, Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall,” from the James Bond film “Spectre,” won best song.

Ennio Morricone, the legendary composer of such film scores as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “The Untouchables,” finally won an Oscar — his first in six nominations. It was for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”

“The Revenant’s” Emmanuel Lubezki won for cinematography. It’s his third straight Oscar in the category.

The first awards of the evening went to “Spotlight” for original screenplay and “The Big Short” for adapted screenplay.

Rock comes out hard

Vikander’s honor was the first of the major acting categories handed out Sunday, but the show had already gotten off to a brisk start thanks to host Chris Rock’s no-holds-barred monologue.

Rock wasted no time in taking on #OscarsSoWhite and diversity issues that had been in the news since the nominations were announced in mid-January.

After the obligatory montage of the year’s movies, Rock came out and said he’d counted at least 15 black people in the video — and, just like that, he was off.

“If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job,” he said. “You’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”

Noting the lack of black nominees through most of Oscar history, he pointed out that in the ’60s, “Black people did not protest because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to worry about best cinematography.”

And “In Memoriam,” the yearly film of people who had passed away in the previous year, would get an addition, Rock said.

“In the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people shot by the cops on the way to the movies.”

The routine was followed with a video bit in which black actors took roles in films that had been nominated for Oscars, including Whoopi Goldberg in “Joy” and Rock in “The Martian,” as well as a bizarre appearance by actress Stacey Dash, who had called for the elimination of Black History Month.

Lou Gossett Jr., an Oscar winner for “An Officer and a Gentleman,” said on the red carpet that often Hollywood is ahead of society, but in the case of diversity, “society is ahead of us.”

Common, who won an Oscar last year for his song “Glory,” said the film community is aware there’s a problem, but now it’s time “to work toward a solution.”

“I know we’re going to make this change,” he said on the red carpet.

Some celebrities were attending an event in Flint, Michigan, #JusticeForFlint. The concert was organized by directors Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and Ryan Coogler (“Creed”) and is calling attention to the water crisis in the Michigan city.

Rock also had some more lighthearted material, including a bit in which he brought out his daughter to sell Girl Scout cookies.

‘Revenant’ considered front-runner

The show had some other notable moments.

Lady Gaga received a standing ovation for her performance of ” ‘Til It Happens to You,” from “The Hunting Ground.”

Rock went back to the Magic Johnson Theaters to ask African-American moviegoers about the year’s nominated films. Almost none of the patrons had seen them.

The awards were the dominant story.

“The Revenant” leads all films with 12 nominations and is considered the front-runner for best picture.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s 0-fer as an acting nominee, is expected to finally take home a trophy for his performance in that film, in which he played an 1820s trapper, Hugh Glass.

DiCaprio told ABC that he’s nervous about his chances but proud of the film.

“I feel blessed to be able to do movies like this,” he said. “Here I am, representing a movie I feel so particularly proud of.”

The 88th Academy Awards are airing from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

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