Leonardo DiCaprio can finally call himself an Oscar winner after six nominations and more than 20 years of acting excellence. That it was his part in the gritty and climatically challenging western epic “The Revenant” that clinched the deal with the Academy Awards judges was testament to his determination to take the best actor prize. Brie Larson became the best actress winner at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, as her portrayal of a mother held captive in an enclosed space for several years continued to attract critical acclaim.

Leo finally gets his Oscar

DiCaprio is nothing but a survivor and his role as explorer Hugh Glass, attacked by a bear and left for dead in the American wilderness by his hunting team, exemplified the depth and versatility that he possesses.

With the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Matt Damon amongst the contenders this year, this was no easy victory.

Yet it has been a long journey since his first Oscar nomination for the best supporting actor back in 1993. In that year, his role as Arnie Grape (a young man with a developmental disability) alongside Johnny Depp in the FilmWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, could not quite prevail against the formidable Tommy Lee Jones (“The Fugitive”).

Further nominations were to be achieved by the (now) 41-year-old actor in the intervening years. Sadly, for the Californian-born actor though, his striking displays in “The Aviator”, “Blood Diamond” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (for which he shared in the best picture nomination as producer) were not deemed quite good enough for the best actor award.

Inarritu also triumphed

DiCaprio was keen to state that he was not taking the award for granted via his acceptance speech, despite many observers sensing that this would indeed be his year. He also took the opportunity to re-affirm his commitment to the planet and his strong appreciation of the dangers from climate change. He would no doubt also have been delighted that the man who guided him to success at last, Alejandro G.

Inarritu took the best director Oscar.

Larson had been hotly tipped

The best actress prize also went to script, with the heavily tipped Larson edging out the consistently strong performing Cate Blanchett and the experienced Charlotte Rampling. Larson confirmed her position as favourite after claiming the top prize at the recent BAFTAs for her starring role in “Room”.

Redmayne’s co-star in “The Danish Girl”, Alicia Vikander took the best supporting actress award, denying Britain’s own Kate Winslet yet more success.

Success for the Brits

British success was achieved in the best supporting actor category thanks to the talented thespian Mark Rylance’s role in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies”. Rylance could yet make it a notable double, after being recently nominated for an Olivier theatre award as well.

That success was backed up by compatriot Sam Smith’s triumph, as the English singer scooped the best original song gong with his James Bond signature track from “Spectre” (“Writing’s on the Wall”).

‘Mad Max’ the big winner

If the credibility of a film is judged by the total number of Oscars it receives, then “Mad Max: Fury Road” surely deserves all the plaudits it receives.

The futuristic science-fiction movie – featuring strong performances from Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron - was the big winner at the ceremony, picking up a stunning six accolades in the technical and design categories.

Best picture was wide open

The Oscar for the best picture category was wide open this year with no clear winner apparent in the run up to the ceremony. But it was to be “Spotlight”, a tale concerning allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, that came out on top of the pile.