Alicia Vikander's first trip to the Oscars was a special one.
The Swedish actress won for best supporting actress at the 88th annual Academy Awards Sunday for her portrayal of 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 Spotlight newspaper reporters won a Pulitzer so it’s fitting that the Spotlight movie writers snagged an Oscar. The journalism drama, which followed the award-winning Boston Globe team that investigated sexual abuse by Catholic priests, was named best original screenplay.
"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 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."
Mad Max: Fury Road won three technical awards, for best costume design, makeup and hairstyling, and production design. "What a lovely, lovely day," said costume designer Jenny Beavan.
Alejandro González Iñárritu's acclaimed historical epic The Revenant leads the field with 12 nominations at the Oscars, hosted by Chris Rock. The Revenant is favored in two major categories — star Leonardo DiCaprio for best actor, and Iñárritu for best director — and it's in the mix for top film along with Spotlight, The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Room, Brooklyn and Bridge of Spies.
DiCaprio looks to capture his first Oscar in five career nominations against a best actor contingent of Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).
On the best actress side, Room star Brie Larson has steamrolled through awards season and is a favorite in the best actress category, which also features Cate Blanchett (Carol), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).
Nearly 40 years after being nominated for best actor in Rocky, Sylvester Stallone also is trying for his first Oscar — for Creed, the seventh movie with Stallone's iconic boxer Rocky Balboa. He's up for best supporting actor against Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies).
After a recent win at the Director Guild Awards, Iñárritu is a strong contender to win back-to-back best director honors — he took home the Oscar last year for Birdman, which also won best picture. He'll be competing against McCarthy, McKay, George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Lenny Abrahamson (Room) and Tom McCarthy (Spotlight).
Pixar's Inside Out is most experts' pick for best animated feature among a field that also includes Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Shaun the Sheep Movie and When Marnie Was There.
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 Los Angeles.