DiCaprio finally gets his 'revenge'
HOLLYWOOD A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar for revenge epic The Revenant on Sunday but journalism drama Spotlight took best picture in a surprising end to Hollywood's glittering awards season.
The night was overshadowed by a simmering race row, addressed head-on by black host Chris Rock, who delivered a series of caustic jokes targeting the Academy's overwhelmingly white male membership.
The Revenant also picked up the statuettes for best director for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - his second in a row after Birdman - and for best cinematography.
But Spotlight, a searing study of The Boston Globe's investigation into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, unexpectedly grabbed best picture honours at the 88th Academy Awards.
"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," co-producer Michael Sugar told the audience at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
A defeat for Creed star Sylvester Stallone was the other big surprise of the night.
He was snubbed for best supporting actor, with the trophy going against the odds to Britain's Mark Rylance for Bridge Of Spies.
George Miller's stark action epic Mad Max: Fury Road was the big winner in the technical categories, scooping awards for best costumes, production design, make-up, film editing, sound editing and sound mixing.
DiCaprio's success for his gruelling star turn as 19th century fur trapper Hugh Glass came 22 years after his first of four unsuccessful acting nominations. For the 41-year-old actor, the fifth time was a charm.
In the past, his Oscar dreams - his nominated roles came in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf Of Wall Street - faded in the face of stiff competition.
But this time, his all-out effort to bring Glass to the screen - eating raw bison liver and wading into icy rivers - rang true for Oscar voters.
DiCaprio thanked a long list of people who have helped him in his career, including film-maker Martin Scorsese, before speaking on his passion - climate change.
"Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work together and stop procrastinating," he said to applause.
First-time nominee Brie Larson picked up a widely predicted best actress statuette, having dominated the awards season with her performance as a kidnapped mother in Room.
The first acting award of the night went to Sweden's Alicia Vikander for her supporting role in transgender love story The Danish Girl.
"This is insane," a visibly moved Vikander said, hailing her co-star Eddie Redmayne: "Thank you for being the best acting partner.
"I could have never done it without you.
"You raised my game."
It was a huge night for Spotlight director Tom McCarthy, who also picked up the Oscar for best original screenplay.
Mexico's Emmanuel Lubezki made history with his third consecutive Oscar for cinematography, for his dramatic work on The Revenant.