Social issues front and centre in series of speeches
Last night’s Academy Awards finally honoured Leonardo DiCaprio as he lifted the Oscar for best actor in his role in The Revenant. It was the sixth time he had been nominated, and he took the opportunity to highlight “man’s relationship with the natural world”, urging an end to procrastination in addressing climate change and support for those “voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed”. It was an echo of his Golden Globes acceptance speech. “I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the Indigenous communities around the world,” he said last month. Brie Larson was the unsurprising winner of the best actress Oscar for her role in The Room.
Alejandro González Iñárritu took the best director award for The Revenant, his second Oscar in as many years. The film failed to bag best film however, with Spotlight the surprise winner. The true story of a newspaper’s investigation into a paedophile priest ring, producer Michael Sugar said, “Pope Francis: it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”
While Spotlight also won best screenplay, and The Revenant also took best cinematography, the evening’s stand out film was Mad Max: Fury Road, winning six awards in total, for costume design, production design, hair and makeup, editing, sound editing and sound mixing. Accepting the Oscar for costume design, Jenny Bevan warned, “If we don’t stop polluting our atmosphere. It could happen [the post apocalyptic world of Mad Max].”
The main controversy of the 88th Academy Awards was always going to be about diversity, and host Chris Rock tackled the issue of underrepresentation of black actors head-on with a series of jokes that were aimed not only at the white establishment in Hollywood, but also some of the black actors that boycotted the event. Faux pas of the evening went to Twitter account @TotalBeauty which confused black actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey – a mistake so well-timed, it could almost be satire.