The Oscar Winners 2016 | Spotlight, The Revenant and Mad Max Rule

Tonight is the night! The 88th Annual Academy Awards are being distributed at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, honoring the best motion pictures, performances and technical achievements from 2015. And for once, it’s a downright unpredictable year.

Usually, there are only one or two frontrunners at the Oscars, and those one or two films dominate all the various guild awards before the final ceremony. But this year, the advance awards have been distributed amongst multiple major contenders, including the journalism drama Spotlight, the economic comedy The Big Short, and the Western revenge saga The Revenant, with some accolades still left over for the post-apocalyptic thriller Mad Max: Fury Road and several others. Any of these films could win Best Picture this year, making this one of the most exciting Oscars on record… at least until the actual awards go out.

Also: 10 Oscar Snubs We Should All Stop Whining About

Crave will be updating this page throughout the night with the winners in each category, and up-to-the-minute commentary. The most recent winners will be listed first. Good luck to everyone who is nominated, and to everyone watching at home, we sincerely hope your favorite film wins. Because your favorite film is Mad Max: Fury Road, isn’t it? Of course it is.

UpdateMad Max: Fury Road won a lot of Oscars, but not Best Picture. Check out all of the winners below!


Best Picture: Spotlight

Open Road Films

This may be the most surprising Best Picture win in years. Spotlight, which only won a single other award (for Best Original Screenplay), earns Best Picture for its incredible portrayal of the journalists and journalistic integrity it took to expose the corruption in the Catholic church that destroyed the lives of many parishioners. What an incredible upset. What a deserving film. What an incredible Oscars. Congratulations to everybody involved.


Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio

20th Century Fox

After five Oscar nominations for acting (and one for producing), Leonardo DiCaprio finally earns the Oscar we all thought he should have won a long, long time ago. The Revenant may not be his best performance (okay, it’s most definitely not) but it’s the performance that wasn’t up against a more crowd-pleasing competitor, and we’ll let him have it. Congratulations, Leonardo DiCaprio! You should have won this for The Wolf of Wall Street.


Best Actress: Brie Larson


Brie Larson wins Best Actress for Room, an intimate and acclaimed drama about a kidnapped woman who raises her child in captivity for many years, and then struggles to adapt to the outside world. It is her first nomination, and (by extension) her first win. It’s one hell of a performance, and she deserves her award.


Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

20th Century Fox

The director of The Revenant takes home his second consecutive Oscar in this category, after winning just last year for Birdman. Though not unprecedented, it is the first time this has happened since 1950. Previous consecutive winners include John Ford (for The Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve). The Revenant was the most nominated film of the year, but this is only its second Oscar win tonight. It’s still the frontrunner for Best Actor, but does this mean Best Picture is a sure thing, or will the Academy split its attentions because it’s such a competitive year?


Best Original Song: “Writing’s On the Wall,” from SPECTRE

Sam Smith’s theme to SPECTRE was met with a mixed reaction from fans and critics, but it managed to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Everyone thought Lady Gaga and Diane Warren had this one in the bag for their soulful and important theme to the documentary Hunting Ground, and after their incredible performance on stage tonight, it seemed like a sure thing. But it’s been a surprising night all around, hasn’t it?


Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone

The Weinstein Company

One of the most legendary composers in movie history finally has a competitive Academy Award. Ennio Morricone, who composed the classic theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and hundreds (HUNDREDS) of others, won an honorary award in 2007 for his immense body of work. His nomination for The Hateful Eight was his sixth, and it was for the first film by Quentin Tarantino to feature original music (although, to be fair, Morricone included excerpts from his score to John Carpenter’s The Thing in there as well). 


Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

Sony Pictures Classics

It wouldn’t be the Oscars without an acclaimed film about the Holocaust, but Son of Saul‘s inventive photography does make it stand out even more than most. It’s one of the most talked about foreign language films of the year and has long been considered the frontrunner in this category.


Best Live-Action Short: Stutterer

Benjamin Cleary

A cute comedy about a man with a serious stutter wins the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short. While Everything Will Be Okay was at least arguably a better film, Stutterer is easily one of the most accomplished nominees in the category this year, telling its simple story very effectively, with clever uses of sound montage to convey the inner world of a protagonist who cannot articulate himself.


Best Documentary Feature: Amy

Altitude Film Distribution

The acclaimed documentary about the late, great Amy Winehouse wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. This is also the second time that filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer has directed a brilliant Oscar-nominated feature about the Indonesian genocide, only to lose to a documentary about music (last time it was 20 Feet from Stardom). Not sure what we’re supposed to take away from that. In any case, congratulations to the makers of Amy, but please, please, please see The Act of Killing and this year’s companion piece, The Look of Silence. They are astounding too.


Best Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness


Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins her second Academy Award, after Saving Face in 2012. The film tells the story of failed Pakistani “honor killing,” in which a father who tried to murder his daughter for marrying the wrong man gets away with it because the culture agrees that she deserved to die. It’s a shocking film that plays a lot like a thrilling Law & Order episode; impressive, illuminating and intense.


Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance

Dreamworks Pictures

Mark Rylance was NOT considered the frontrunner for his acclaimed supporting performance in Bridge of Spies, but good for him: he gave an excellent turn as a Russian spy whose calm demeanor and off-putting dignity challenges an American’s assumptions and ideals. As for the supposed frontrunner, well, the Academy just didn’t seem to like Sylvester Stallone very much, even though many had assumed his fantastic performance in Creed was the stuff the Oscars dreamed of: comebacks, weepy acceptance speeches, legacy. His nomination probably qualifies as his award.


Best Animated Feature: Inside Out

Disney / Pixar

Pixar wins their umpteenth Oscar for Best Animated Feature like we all knew they would. It was a category full of worthy contenders this year, but it’s hard to complain about a film as inventive as Inside Out winning an Oscar. The motion picture about the personified emotions inside a little girl’s head is complex and illuminating and funny.

Also: Oscar-Winner Pete Docter Explains Why Logic Has No Place in ‘Inside Out’

Best Animated Short: Bear Story

Gabriel Osorio Vargas

Bear Story, an emotionally devastating animated short about a bear taken from his family, abused and then finally telling his story via street performance, wins the award for Best Animated Short. A brutal film. Not our favorite in this category, but damned good.


Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina


In what could be the biggest surprise of the night, the independent sci-fi thriller Ex Machina just beat Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the Best Visual Effects category. This is a pleasant surprise. Ex Machina, a film about a scientist testing the humanity of his new robot (played by new Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander), used visual effects to tell a convincing and meaningful story, not just to entertain. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course…

Also: ‘Ex Machina’ Director Alex Garland Talks Artificial Intelligence on Crave’s B-Movies Podcast

Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

The Oscar for the actual mixing of the sound – what’s louder than what, how it’s timed to the action, etc. – goes to Mad Max: Fury Road, as well it should.


Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

Mad Max wins an Oscar for Best Sound Editing (that’s the actual sounds you hear, the creation of those sounds, etc.) It’s pretty impressive that it beat out Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this category, since creating new noises alien to the human ear is arguably a more difficult job, but Mad Max just sounds too great to ignore it here.


Best Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

The incredible editing behind Mad Max: Fury Road, which transformed a cacophony of action into an elegant action movie in which every audience member always knows exactly what’s going on, why it matters, and why we should care, earns an Oscar for Best Editing. What a lovely day indeed!


Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

Mad Max wins Best Makeup and Hairstyling, awards that also usually go to more conservative motion pictures, the kind that age actors instead of transforming them into irradiated mutants. Well-deserved.


Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

The ornate, dusty production design of Mad Max: Fury Road – a film in which every prop and set had a backstory and a function – wins a much deserved Academy Award for Best Production Design. The sweep goes on…


Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros.

Mad Max: Fury Road wins its first award of the night, for Best Costume Design. It’s a particularly impressive accomplishment because the Oscars usually eschews sci-fi/fantasy films in this category, in favor of historical dramas with swirly dresses. It is probably the first award of many for Mad Max: Fury Road, which is expected to sweep most of the technical categories.


Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander

Focus Features

Alicia Vikander wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, even though she’s the lead actress in The Danish Girl. Whatever, category fraud works but, at least, it’s benefitting a fine performance as the struggling wife of a transgender person, in a time when there wasn’t even a frame of reference for that experience. This is probably also an honorary award for Vikander’s amazing, actually supporting performance in Ex Machina, which was even more acclaimed and is also up for two Academy Awards tonight, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Visual Effects.


Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Paramount Pictures

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph win Best Adapted Screenplay for The Big Short, based on the non-fiction book by Michael Lewis. It is the first Oscar win for both writers, although McKay is also nominated for Best Director tonight. The film, an acidic comedy about the recent economic collapse, is an about-face for McKay, who is most famous for writing and directing comedies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights.


Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight

Open Road Films

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer’s slick, efficient, complicated but easy to follow screenplay for Spotlight wins the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Tom McCarthy is also nominated for Best Director tonight. It’s the first Oscar win for both writers, and it was the second nomination for McCarthy, who also co-wrote the award-winning animated feature film Up, for Pixar.

Top Photo: Christopher Polk / Getty Images North America

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.

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