Los Angeles, “The Revenant” had a golden run at the 88th Academy Awards, where its lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio broke his Oscar jinx by winning the best actor trophy and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was named best director. The gala night saw British filmmaker of Indian origin Asif Kapadia winning for “Amy”; late India-born British actor Saeed Jaffrey getting an ‘In memoriam’ honour and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra taking to the stage as a star presenter.
DiCaprio, who had been nominated for the golden statuette four times for his acting earlier, took home his first Academy Award in the Actor in a Leading Role category for his power-packed performance in “The Revenant”. He rightfully received a standing ovation and accepted the honour with an impactful speech, in which he addressed climate change.
It was also a first for Brie Larson when she won an Oscar in the Actress in a Leading Role category for her portrayal of a kidnapped girl imprisoned by a psychopath in “Room”.
The big surprise came when “Spotlight” — a movie which shines the spotlight on journalism and a story of uncovering a child molestation scandal — won the Best Picture title at the ceremony held at the world-famous Dolby Theatre here on Sunday night.
However, the maximum awards went to George Miller’s directorial “Mad Max: Fury Road” that picked up six trophies — Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hair Styling, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design categories.
The Supporting Actor category saw English actor Mark Rylance defeating Sylvester Stallone to win the Academy Award for Steven Spielberg’s cold war drama “Bridge of Spies”, backed by Indian businessman Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment; and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won in the same category for women, for her role in “The Danish Girl”.
The awards ceremony, held at the Dolby Theatre here, was hosted by actor-comedian Chris Rock who tackled the ‘lack of diversity’ and #OscarsSoWhite controversy, in a light-hearted manner — drawing mixed reactions.
For India, while Marathi film “Court”, the country’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film, did not make it to the final nomination list this year, there were proud moments for the country in abundance.
Priyanka Chopra looked stunning in an elegant white gown, a creation by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad. Besides flaunting a perfect red carpet appearance, she exuded confidence as she presented the Oscar in the Best Film Editing category to “Mad Max: Fury Road” along with Hollywood star Liev Schreiber.
Also presenting an award at the event was British actor of Indian origin Dev Patel, while London-based filmmaker of Indian origin Asif Kapadia bagged the Best Documentary Feature Oscar for “Amy”, based on the life of late singer Amy Winehouse.
However, Indian-American Pixar artist Sanjay Patel’s animated short “Sanjay’s Super Team”, which tells the story of an immigrant community and “a family of colour”, lost the Oscar to Chilean film “Bear Story”.
There was a Malayalee angle too in Sajan Skaria, who worked as the character supervisor in “Inside Out”, which was named the Best Animated Feature Film.
Also, Indian-born British actor Saeed Jaffrey was remembered in the annual “In Memoriam” montage, along with Alan Rickman, David Bowie and Leonard Nimoy.
For Pakistan, it was time for celebrations as filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Oscar for Best Documentary-Short Subject for her project based on honour killing titled “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”. It is her second Oscar win, and she said the fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is hoping to change laws around honour killing following the success of her documentary, shows the “power of the film”.
The night of the glitz and glamour would have been incomplete without soulful music. Sam Smith performed Oscar winning song “Writing’s on the Wall” from the James Bond movie “Spectre”, while The Weeknd performed Oscar nominated song “Earned it” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”, and Lady Gaga called for an end to rape culture with a rendition of her “Till it happens to you”.
Other star presenters at the Oscars included Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. In fact, “Titanic” star Kate Winslet sparkled in accessories by NIRAV MODI jewels, an Indian luxury brand with a global presence.