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Alejandro G. Inarritu won best director for the second year in a row at the Oscars on Sunday night.
He won for The Revenant, beating out fellow nominees Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Lenny Abrahamson (Room) and Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) for the helming honor this year.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Inarritu said onstage. “It’s amazing to receive this award tonight. But it’s much more beautiful for me to share it with all the talented and crazy cast and colleagues and crew members along the continent that made this film possible. To all and each of you, I thank you from my heart,” he said, adding, “Leo [DiCaprio], you are The Revenant.” (DiCaprio went on to win best actor honors Sunday night for his role in the pic.)
The Mexican director is the first director to win back-to-back Oscars in over 60 years and the third ever, after Joseph L. Mankiewicz and John Ford.
During his speech, the filmmaker also thanked the rest of The Revenant cast, including DiCaprio’s co-star. “Tom Hardy, all the Native American cast, all the English American cast, thank you very much for your trust, for your talent,” he said.
“I am very lucky to be here tonight,” Inarritu said toward the end of his speech, “but unfortunately, many others haven’t had the same luck. There is a line in the film that says, Glass to his mixed-race son, ‘They don’t listen to you, they just see the color of your skin.’ So what a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and this tribal thinking, and make sure for once and forever that the color of the skin become as irrelevant as the length of our hair.”
The Revenant stars DiCaprio and Hardy as frontiersmen in the 1800s wilderness, telling the story of DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass, who seeks revenge after being left for dead.
This is Inarritu’s second Academy Award for directing, having received the nod last year for Birdman, which also took home Oscars for best picture and best original screenplay. The Revenant received a total of 12 nominations this year.
Backstage, the director added, “Every film is like a son. You can’t like one film more than the other. I think this experience and sharing this with Leo and the crew – I think the award that I’m getting is behalf of all of them. I think storytelling is for us in a way to confront a huge amount of emotions and possibilities … It’s a way to control life. To have an oxygen capsule of life without suffering for real that can teach us for when the times come for being in love or when we have a problem.”
He was also was asked by a reporter to elaborate on his speech, since the Academy appeared to be rushing him off the stage early by playing the wrap-it-up music.
“I want to say what I want to say, which is something that is absurd,” he began. “I think the debate is not only about black and white people. I think diversity really includes you know, what’s that mean? That now is Oscar so brown or what? I think we are yellow and Native Americans and Latin Americans. So the complexity of the society of the world is much more than one or the other.”
He continued, “I think it’s — again, I think it’s becoming a little bit very polarized, very politicized, without observing the complexity and the beautiful of how being this country’s so mixed, as my country which is mixed, but this is a multi?mixed country. That is the real power of it.”
The 88th Annual Academy Awards were hosted by Chris Rock at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and aired on ABC.
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