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DiCaprio wins but 'Spotlight' takes top prize at Oscars

It was Leonardo DiCaprio's night in the Oscar spotlight, but it was Spotlight that took the big prize Sunday night at the 88th annual Academy Awards.

The journalism drama, which followed the award-winning Boston Globe team that investigated child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, was named best picture and best original screenplay on Sunday. Spotlight also became the first best picture since 1952's The Greatest Show Earth to have only one other Oscar win.

"We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable, and for the survivors whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration," said director and co-writer Tom McCarthy. "We have to make sure this never happens again."

The Revenant took home three two Oscars: best cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki, marking his third straight win in the category; best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu, back-to-back trophies for him after last year's victory for Birdman; and best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, who finally won after being nominated for five times in the past.

Iñárritu dedicated his directing award to his father and also paid tribute to the star of his acclaimed wilderness epic: "Leo, you are The Revenant. Thank you for giving your soul, your art, your life." And DiCaprio honored his director in kind "for creating a transcendent cinematic experience for all of us."

Brie Larson swept through award season and conquered the Oscars as well, winning best actress for the emotional drama Room. She paid tribute to everyone from film festivals to "my partner through this," co-star Jacob Tremblay, to audiences. "Thank you to going to the theater and seeing our films."

British actor Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone for best supporting actor, capturing the award for his portrayal of Cold War Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel in director Steven Spielberg's period drama Bridge of Spies.

"I've always just adored stories — hearing them, seeing them, being in them," Rylance said. "So for me to have the chance to work with one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Steven Spielberg, has been such an honor."

Rylance wasn't the only surprising winner at the ceremony hosted by Chris Rock: Mad Max: Fury Road led the field with six technical awards, for best costume design, sound editing, sound mixing, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and production design. "What a lovely, lovely day," said costume designer Jenny Beavan.

Inside Out, which look at the five colorful feelings inside a little girl's head, won for best animated feature, becoming the eighth Pixar film to win in the category.

"Regardless of whether we get a gold man or not, we get to make stuff," said Inside Out director Pete Docter. "This film was really born from watching our kids grow up, which is not easy. Anyone out there who is in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering, there are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry, you’re going to be scared. That’s nothing you can choose, but you can make stuff."

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander took supporting actress honors for her star-making turn as a wife who supports her transgender artist spouse in The Danish Girl.

Out of breath by the time she took the stage, Vikander called out her co-star Eddie Redmayne — "You raised my game" — and thanked her parents "for giving me the belief that anything can happen – even though I would never have believed this."

The Hateful Eight composer Ennio Morricone captured his first Oscar at the age of 87 for best original score, and Sam Smith's Writing's on the Wall got the original song honor for the James Bond movie Spectre.

The Big Short, director Adam McKay's comedy-drama about the collapse of the housing bubble and bank failure, took home the Oscar for adapted screenplay.

McKay, also a co-writer on the film, referenced the upcoming presidential election in his acceptance speech: "If you don't want big money to control government, don't vote for candidates who take money from big banks, oil or weirdo billionaires."

The Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul took best foreign film for director László Nemes. "Even in the darkest hours of mankind, there might be a voice within us that allows us to remain human," he said. "That’s the hope of this film."

Amy, which chronicled the life of the late singer Amy Winehouse, was named best documentary feature. "We just wanted to make a film to show who she really was," said director Asif Kapadia. "Not a tabloid persona. The beautiful girl, the amazing self, funny, intelligent, witty, someone special, someone who needed looking after."

Bear Story won for animated short, Stutterer nabbed live action short, best documentary short went to The Girl on the River: The Price of Forgiveness, and Ex Machina captured the award for best visual effects.

On a night when Hollywood fêtes its finest, there are others who wanted to keep a focus on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the fact that this is the second year in a row without a person of color in one of the four main acting categories. The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Thursday a "nationwide TV tuneout" of the Academy Awards broadcast, and he led a rally in front of Hollywood High School on Sunday, not far from the Dolby Theatre. Similar rallies were scheduled in front of local TV news stations in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Washington and Miami.

"We're not saying who must win. But if you're locked out of the process you're dealing with a systemic problem of exclusion," Sharpton said at the L.A. event. "This will be the last night of an all white Oscars."

Contributing:  Madison Mills in Hollywood.

#OscarsSoWhite Protest
Protesters led by Rev. Al Sharpton gathered in L.A. hours before the Oscars
Video by Madison Mills for USA TODAY