In an underdog win for a movie about an underdog profession, the newspaper drama “Spotlight” took best picture at a 88th Academy Awards.
Tom McCarthy’s film about the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests won over the favored frontier epic “The Revenant.” McCarthy’s well-crafted procedural, led by a strong ensemble cast, had lagged in the lead-up to the Oscars, losing ground to the flashier filmmaking of Alejandro Inarritu’s film.
But “Spotlight” — an ode to the hard-nose, methodical work of a journalism increasingly seldom practiced — took the night’s top honor despite winning only one other Oscar for McCarthy and Josh Singer’s screenplay. Such a sparsely-awarded best picture winner hasn’t happened since 1952’s “The Greatest Show On Earth.”
The night, however, belong to host Chris Rock, who launched immediately into the uproar over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominees, and didn’t let up. “The White People’s Choice Awards,” he called the Oscars, which were surrounded by protests (including one outside the Dolby Theatre by the Rev. Al Sharpton) and boycotts.
Streaks, broken and extended, dominated much of the evening. After going home empty-handed four times previously, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, for a best actor in “The Revenant” — a gruff, grunting performance that traded little on the actor’s youthful charisma. DiCaprio, greeted with a standing ovation, took the moment to talk about climate change.
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