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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Catholic Church abuse movie Spotlight was named best picture, the top award at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, after an evening peppered with pointed punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

Mexico’s Alejandro Inarritu nabbed the best directing Oscar for The Revenant, taking home the trophy for the second straight year after winning in 2015 for Birdman.

The Revenant had gone into Sunday’s 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.

“I (am) very lucky to be here tonight but unfortunately many others haven’t had the same luck,” Inarritu said, expressing the hope that, in the future, skin color would become as irrelevant as the length of one’s hair.

Leonardo DiCaprio got a standing ovation after finally winning his first Oscar for his leading role as a fur trapper left for dead in The Revenant and spoke out on climate change in his acceptance speech.

Rising star Brie Larson, 26, took home the statuette for best actress for her role as an abducted young woman in indie movie Room” to add to her armful of trophies from other award shows.

Racial themes and barbs about the selection of an all-white acting nominee line-up for a second year ran throughout the evening as black comedian Rock opened the show that he called “the white People’s Choice awards.”

Among the surprises, Britain’s Mark Rylance beat presumed favorite and Creed actor Sylvester Stallone to win the Academy Award for best supporting actor for Bridge of Spies.

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won the supporting actress Oscar for transgender movie The Danish Girl while documentary Amy, about the late and troubled British pop star Amy Winehouse was also a winner.

Open Road Films’ (RGC.N) Spotlight, which traces the journalism probe of sex abuse in the Boston Catholic Church also won best original screenplay.

Warner Bros (TWX.N) Mad Max: Fury Road started the night with 10 nominations and the action-adventure won a slew of Oscars, including for costume, make-up, editing, and production design.

(Additional reporting by Nichola Groom, Lisa Richwine and Piya Sinha-Roy:; Editing by Mary Milliken)

Photo: Actor Michael Keaton (R) hugs director Tom McCarthy after their film “Spotlight” won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Dr. Mehmet Oz

Sean Parnell, the Trump-anointed candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, dropped out of the race a week ago after a custody hearing that featured lurid details of his relationship with his ex-wife. Laurie Snell alleged that Parnell had struck her, choked her, left her by the side of the road and hit one of their sons hard enough to leave a welt on the boy's back. Parnell countered that she had invented all of it.

Custody battles are infamous for exaggerated accusations and heated denials, and it's difficult for outsiders to know whom to believe and how much. But Parnell's comments off the witness stand didn't burnish his credibility. Appearing on Fox Nation, for example, Parnell opined, "I feel like the whole 'happy wife, happy life' nonsense has done nothing but raise one generation of woman tyrants after the next." He wasn't finished. "Now there's an entire generation of men that don't want to put up with the BS of a high-maintenance, narcissistic woman." Well. Someone seems to be dealing with anger issues. The would-be — er, rather, won't-be — senator concluded with a short sermon on biology: "From an evolutionary standpoint, it used to be, you know, women were attracted to your strength because you could defend them from dinosaurs." Where does the GOP find these geniuses?

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