Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

For film lovers, the academy awards is more than just glitz and glamour. It is often a platform for celebrities to talk politics and equally important topics such as equal pay for women. But mainly it is about the movies that touch us somehow like the best-selling novel turned heart wrencher, Room, or The Big Short, which tackled in the easiest way imagined the financial crisis in 2008.

One of the night’s most anticipated moments was comedian Chris Rock’s opening monologue. The recent controversy surrounding the lack of diversity among nominees was far from ignored. Rock cracked a few jokes, and while some were met with praise, others were immediately criticized such as the one referring to the 60s: “When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”

Another highlight was Lady Gaga. Following the Vice President Joe Biden’s introduction in which he discussed the White House’s campaign “It’s On Us,” which combats sexual assault, Gaga, who was nominated for “Best Original Song,” performed a piano rendition of Til it Happens To You. Then a group of sexual assault survivors joined her onstage towards the end.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the night was Leonardo DiCaprio winning his very first academy award for Best Actor for his daring performance in The Revenant. DiCaprio took the opportunity to point out the severity of climate change during his acceptance speech: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

Other notable winners at the 88th Academy Awards include:

Brie Larson for Best Actress: Room

Best Original Screenplay & Best Picture: Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Alicia Vikander for Best Supporting Actress: The Danish Girl

Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor: Bridge of Spies

Alejandro G. Inarritu for Best Director: The Revenant

Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out

Sam Smith for Best Original Song: “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

For more on the winners, go to