Brad Pitt won the first acting Oscar of his career – picking up the best supporting actor trophy for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s movie.
He was the first winner of the night, and immediately used his speech to attack the way the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump were handled.
Brad Pitt referred to the fact that Republican senators voted against allowing witnesses including former National Security Adviser John Bolton to give evidence.
He said: “They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.
“I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it and in the end the adults do the right thing.”
Brad Pit, 56, moved from the political to the personal, paying tribute to co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and reflecting on his journey to Hollywood superstardom.
Joaquin Phoenix, who won best actor for his remarkable performance in the origin story about Batman’s nemesis, also used the podium to send a heartfelt message about the state of the world, saying actors have the power to give a “voice for the voiceless”.
After telling the audience to stop clapping him as he took to the stage – “Don’t do that” – Joaquin Phoenix managed to cover topics from animal rights and the environment to racism and sexism.
The vegan activist told the audience that “we feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable”.
The actor also pointed out his own flaws: “I’ve been a scoundrel in my life. I’ve been cruel at times and hard to work with, but so many people in this room have given me a second chance.”
Joaquin Phoenix ended his speech by quoting a lyric written by his late brother River: “Run to the rescue and love and peace will follow.”
Laura Dern won best supporting actress for playing a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.
A day before her 53rd birthday, the actress said the award is the best birthday present ever.
Laura Dern comes from an illustrious acting family, but in winning managed something her parents have not. Mother Diane Ladd has been nominated for three Academy Awards, and dad Bruce Dern has two unsuccessful nominations.
She told the audience: “Some say never meet your heroes.
“But I say if you’re really blessed, you get them as your parents.”
Renee Zellweger used her speech to pay tribute to Judy Garland, who was nominated for two Oscars in the 1950s and 60s.
The actress said: “Judy Garland did not receive this honor in her time,
“I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy.”
Sam Mendes is to direct the 24th James Bond film, due for release in 2015, it has been announced.
Daniel Craig will reprise his role as 007, with the script penned by Oscar winner, John Logan.
Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: “We’re really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”
Bond 24 is due for release in the UK on 23 October 2015 and on 6 November 2015 in the US.
Skyfall’s Sam Mendes, who directed the recently-opened West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, said he was “very much looking forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time”.
Sam Mendes is to direct the 24th James Bond film, due for release in 2015
He added: “I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honor all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24.”
Skyfall made $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office and won two Oscars – singer Adele’s theme song of the same name won best original song and there was an award for sound editing.
It was also named the outstanding British film by BAFTA.
It was reported in May that Sam Mendes had resumed talks with producers about directing the next Bond film, having previously ruled himself out due to other commitments.
Sam Mendes is due to follow Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by directing Shakespeare’s King Lear at the National Theatre in January 2014.
The last film-maker to lead consecutive Bond movies was former editor John Glen, who directed five films in a row between 1981 to 1989.