There was a big win for Dubliner Benjamin Cleary, whose short film 'Stutterer' took home the Academy Award
There were few shocks and plenty of shocking laughs from Hollywood in the early hours of the morning as the 88th Academy Awards presented their gongs to the film industry’s brightest stars. In a bumper year of nominees, Irish eyes were smiling with one winner, Benjamin Cleary’s ‘Best Live Action Short’ seeing the Dubliner tell all of Hollywood how great is it to be Irish- and he didn't even stutter.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was Mark Rylance, the British actor and multi award-winning star of the Westend and Broadway, taking home the prize for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for the Steven Spielberg-directed Bridge of Spies.
Sylvester Stallone, who had once again pulled on the boxing gloves that turned him into a star as Rocky Balboa in Creed. Stallone, who won Oscars for the first Rocky movie, could take some solace in a message of support from his long-time action movie colleague and former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Alicia Vikander, the Swedish star of The Danish Girl, was named ‘Best Supporting Actress’, while her starring turn in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina saw that film fight off intense competition from Mad Max: Fury Road to claim ‘Best Visual Effects’.
It had seemed for a while the George Miller-directed action epic was on a roll, winning a number in a total of six across technical and design categories - it truly was a lovely day for many of the film’s crew.
Spotlight took the night’s top prize, ‘Best Picture’, as well as a nod for ‘Best Original Screenplay’, while Alejandro G. Iñárritu made it two years in a row for ‘Best Director’ for The Revenant - although his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki bested him with a third win in three years.
British pop star Sam Smith's Writing's on the Wall was named 'Best Song', though Lady Gaga's performance of her nominated song Til it Happens to You was the crowd favourite on the night, with the singer surrounded by survivors of sexual assault on stage, each one hugged by Brie Larson as they left.
Larson won ‘Best Actress’ for her role as Ma in Room, directed by Irishman Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue. And after his first nomination 22 years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his hands on an Oscar for his work as a fur trapper left for dead in the bitter wilderness in The Revenant.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the night, though, was Chris Rock, whose second go as presenter came just as the Academy Awards was facing its biggest controversy of recent years, with serious questions raised about a lack of diversity.
From the get go, Rock pulled no punches, displaying a masterful handling of stand-up comedy during the monologue, telling the audience that yes, Hollywood is racist, but that the problem is the people in show business are actually the liberals.
A number of sketches were worked into the show, some brilliantly funny, including Angela Bassett introducing ‘Black History Month’, though the most bizarre saw Stacey Dash, the star of Clueless and a vocal critic of those who have taken issue with the Academy, welcomed on stage - the joke falling very flat.
Here's tonight's Black History Month Minute.https://t.co/rPBKac5fdl— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 29, 2016
You can read the full list of winners from the 88th Academy Awards below:
Best Original Screenplay - Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay - Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, The Big Short
Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Costume Design - Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design - Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson, Mad Max: Fury Road
Achievement in Make Up & Hairstyling - Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, Damian Martain, Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Film Editing - Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
Achievement in Sound Editing - Mark Mangini, David White, Mad Max: Fury Road
Achievement in Sound Mixing - Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, Ben Osmo, Mad Max: Fury
Achievement in Visual Effects - Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Ex Machina
Best Animated Short - Gabriel Osorio, Pato Escala, Bear Story
Best Animated Feature - Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera, Inside Out
Best Supporting Actor - Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Documentary Short Subject - Sharpen Obaid-Chinoy, A Girl in the River, The Price of Forgiveness
Documentary Feature - Asif Kapadia, James Gay Rees, Amy
Best Live Action Short - Benjamin Cleary, Serena Armitage, Stutterer
Foreign Language Film - Hungary, Son of Saul
Best Original Score - Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song - Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes, Writing’s on the Wall
Best Actress - Brie Larson, Room
Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Picture - Spotlight