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Academy Awards: 'Spotlight,' DiCaprio And Larson Win Coveted Oscars

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Academy Awards: 'Spotlight,' DiCaprio And Larson Win Coveted Oscars

Movies

Academy Awards: 'Spotlight,' DiCaprio And Larson Win Coveted Oscars

Academy Awards: 'Spotlight,' DiCaprio And Larson Win Coveted Oscars

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Spotlight received the Oscar for best picture. Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in The Revenant, won for best actor. And, Brie Larson takes home the award for best leading actress for her role in Room.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The movies "Spotlight," "Mad Max" and "The Revenant," were the big winners at last night's Academy Awards. There were some surprises - except this, which everyone was expecting. The main theme of the night was the show's continuing lack of diversity. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was backstage and has this report.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Once again, the Oscars were called out for its all white acting nominations. Some protested outside the Dolby Theater. Other's tweeted out the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. On stage, comedian Chris Rock addressed the issue head-on as host of the Academy Awards.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

CHRIS ROCK: Otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards.

(LAUGHTER)

DEL BARCO: In his opening monologue he talked about the issue that's plagued the Academy for nearly nine decades.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

ROCK: I'm sure there were no black nominees some of those years - say, '62 or '63. And black people did not protest - why? - because we had real things to protest at the time.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCK: You know?

(APPLAUSE)

ROCK: We had real things to protest. You know, too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCK: You know, when your - when your grandmother's swinging from a tree, it's really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.

(LAUGHTER)

DEL BARCO: This is not a new issue. At the Oscars in 1977, comedian Richard Pryor brought it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

RICHARD PRYOR: I...

(LAUGHTER)

PRYOR: ...I'm here tonight to explain why no black people will ever be nominated for anything.

(APPLAUSE)

PRYOR: Black people love to act.

(LAUGHTER)

PRYOR: We can cry at the drop of a hat.

(LAUGHTER)

PRYOR: Or laugh, ha ha.

DEL BARCO: In another segment, Chris Rock got the word out on the street from real people straight out of Compton.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

ROCK: I want you to tell Hollywood how you feel right now.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This should be not just white. It should be Asian, Hispanic - there's so much talent out there of all races.

(APPLAUSE)

DEL BARCO: The issue continued to dominate the night. When Mexico-born Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won his best director award for the second year in a row, he also talked about diversity, even as the orchestra called for him to end his speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU: I very lucky to be here tonight, OK? But unfortunately, many others haven't had the same luck. There is a line in the film that says - Glass to his mixed-race son - they don't listen to you. They just see the color of your skin. So what a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate our self from all prejudice and, you know, this primal thinking.

DEL BARCO: Inarritu gave a shout out to the cast and crew of "The Revenant," his epic western that famously took 11 months to shoot in harsh conditions. Inarritu thanked his award-winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred as a frontiersman bent on revenge. The audience gave DiCaprio a standing ovation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: Thank you. Thank you all so very much.

DEL BARCO: During his speech, DiCaprio called for action on another political issue, climate change which he said is very real.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

DICAPRIO: We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children's children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.

(APPLAUSE)

DEL BARCO: George Miller's post-apocalyptic movie, "Mad Max: Fury Road" had a similar message about the changing environment. The film was shot in the Namibian desert and picked up six Oscars - production design, makeup and hair styling, film editing, sound editing and mixing, and costume design, for which Jenny Beavan won her second award. During her speech, the customer picked up the themes of the night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

JENNY BEAVAN: But actually, it could be horribly prophetic, "Mad Max," if we're not kinder to each other and if we don't stop polluting our atmosphere. So, you know, it could happen.

(APPLAUSE)

DEL BARCO: Comedian Louis C.K. reminded the audience that most of the Oscars winners are the rich and famous, something he said the winners of the best documentary short category would never be.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

LOUIS C.K.: All they do is tell stories that are important. Now, you all do, but you also get rich. But these people, all they got is - this Oscar is going home in a Honda civic.

(LAUGHTER)

DEL BARCO: The winner in that category was "A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness" about so-called honor killings in Pakistan. The best picture Oscar went to "Spotlight," a movie about the Boston Globe's investigation of the church sex abuse scandal. The ensemble cast gathered on stage as the film's producer, Michael Sugar, spoke.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

MICHAEL SUGAR: This film gave a voice to survivors. And this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican.

DEL BARCO: This year's Oscars had some surprises. In the best supporting actor category, Mark Rylance from "Bridge of Spies" knocked out Sylvester Stallone, who was the expected winner. Later, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga, who gave a powerful performance with her song "Til It Happens To You" from "The Hunting Ground," a film about rape on college campuses.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

LADY GAGA: (Singing) You won't know how I feel. How I feel. How I feel. 'Til it happens to you, you don't know.

DEL BARCO: Backstage there was a loud gasp when the song didn't win a best original song Oscar. That honor went to "Writing On The Wall," from the James Bond film "Spectre." Bringing it back to power though, the best actress winner Brie Larson earned her Oscar for playing the role of a mother trapped with her son in the movie "Room." Backstage, she talked about how confident and accomplished holding the Oscar made her feel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

BRIE LARSON: To me, making this movie was my own search for freedom, and breaking free of my own personal boundaries. And I hope that when people watch this they realize that they have it in themselves to break free of whatever it is that's holding them back.

DEL BARCO: Appropriately enough, the Oscars ceremony ended with a Public Enemy song, "Fight The Power."

(SOUNDBITE OF ACADEMY AWARDS)

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Singing) Fight the power. Fight the power. Fight the power. Fight the power. Fight the power.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Hollywood.

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