Catholic Church abuse movie Spotlight was named best picture, the top award at the Oscars ceremony, after a night peppered with pointed punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

In a ceremony where no single movie stole the night, Mexicos Alejandro González Iñárritu nabbed the best directing Oscar for The Revenant, becoming the first filmmaker in more than 60 years to win back-to-back Academy Awards. Iñárritu won in 2015 for Birdman.

The Revenant went into the ceremony with a leading 12 nominations, and was among four movies believed to have the best chances for best picture after it won Golden Globe and Bafta trophies. The ambitious 20th Century Fox Pioneer-era tale, shot in sub-zero temperatures, also brought a first Oscar win for its star Leonardo DiCaprio, who got a standing ovation from the A-list Hollywood audience.

Yet voters in the Academy chose Open Road Films Spotlight, which traces the Boston Globes 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of child sex abuse by Catholic priests, for best picture. The movie also won best original screenplay. Rising star Brie Larson, 26, took home the statue for best actress for her role as an abducted young woman in indie movie Room, adding to her armful of trophies from other award ceremonies.

Racial themes and barbs about the selection of an all-white acting nominee line-up for a second year were a running theme of the show, dubbed the white Peoples Choice awards by Rock, an outspoken black comedian. He questioned why the furore over diversity in the industry had taken root this year, rather than in the 1950s or 1960s, saying that black Americans had real things to protest at the time.

Among surprises, Britains Mark Rylance beat presumed favourite and Creed actor Sylvester Stallone to win the Academy Award for best supporting actor for Bridge Of Spies. Writings On The Wall, British singer Sam Smiths theme song for James Bond movie Spectre beat Lady Gagas sexual assault awareness ballad Til It Happens to You.

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won the supporting actress Oscar for transgender movie The Danish Girl. Another British win came from Asif Kapadias documentary, Amy, about the late and troubled pop star Amy Winehouse. The Hungarian movie Son of Saul, a harrowing Holocaust drama, won the Oscar for best foreign language film.

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Inside Out from Walt Disneys Pixar studio won the Oscar for best animated feature film, while Bear Story took home the top prize for best animated short film. Warner Bros Mad Max: Fury Road was the biggest winner, clinching six Oscars, but all were in technical categories, including costume, make-up and editing, leaving Star Wars: The Force Awakens walking away empty-handed.