Spotlight pulled out an 11th hour surprise by pulling out a Best Picture win with just one other award, Best Original Screenplay. That hasn’t happened since 1953 when The Greatest Show on Earth won essentially the same two awards (The Greatest Show on Earth won Best Writing, Motion Picture – an expired category). Spotlight‘s win keeps the history of pre-December releases winning Best Picture. It marks the first win for distributor and producer Open Road Films and Participant Media.
The evening began with the screenplay awards, which went to Spotlight and The Big Short, which were widely predicted. Next came Supporting Actress for Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl. She won the Screen Actors Guild award ahead of tonight’s Oscar win.
Mad Max: Fury Road was the top winner of the night with six awards, including all of the techs except Cinematography, which went to Emmanuel Lubeski for The Revenant. His win puts him in exclusive territory by being the first and only cinematographer to win three years in a row. His win for The Revenant for follows his wins for Birdman in 2015 and Gravity in 2014.
A huge shock came when Ex Machina broke a 45-year record in Visual Effects by being a non-Best Picture nominee to win over not just one but two Best Picture nominees in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant.
The next major shock came when perceived frontrunner in Supporting Actor, Sylvester Stallone, was bested by Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies. Rylance, who won the BAFTA, was beaten by Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) at the Screen Actors Guild and Stallone at the Golden Globes.
One expected win was Ennio Morricone in Original Score for The Hateful Eight. The 87-year old composer, a six time nominee, had never won a competitive Oscar until tonight.
The lead acting categories went to the Golden Globe/SAG/BAFTA winners, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Brie Larson (Room), with DiCaprio fighting a 20-year battle for an Oscar and finally receiving his perceived long-overdue Oscar for The Revenant.
The FULL list of winners of the 88th Academy Awards:
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Achievement in costume design
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
Achievement in production design
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubeski
Achievement in film editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
Achievement in sound editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
Achievement in sound mixing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
Achievement in visual effects
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Best animated short film
“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Best animated feature film of the year
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Best documentary short subject
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Best documentary feature
“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Best live action short film
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Best foreign language film of the year
“Son of Saul” Hungary
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
Achievement in directing
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Brie Larson in “Room”
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Best motion picture of the year
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers