Diversity took centre-stage - while protest took a back seat - at this year's Oscars with a ceremony that acknowledged both last year's infamous envelope mistake and the #metoo movement that swept Hollywood in 2017.

The otherwordly fairytale The Shape of Water took out best picture, which was again presented by last year's presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

The win makes The Shape of Water this year's best-winning and most-nominated film, with four wins and 13 nominations. The film also nabbed best director, best original score and best production design.

Host Jimmy Kimmel, Dunaway and Beatty each acknowledged last year's best picture gaffe, during which the award was mistakenly given to La La Land instead of Moonlight.

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Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty present the award for best picture. Photo / AP
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty present the award for best picture. Photo / AP

Kimmel's opening monologue frequently referenced the incident, with the talk show host joking that winners should be hesitant to accept their awards.

"This year, when you hear your name called, don't get up right away, we don't want it to be a whole thing," he said. "We can't ruin this year, it's a big one."

Kimmel also referenced Harvey Weinstein's ousting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the #metoo movement, saying: "What happened wtih Harvey was long overdue, the world is watching us, we need to set an example"

In the first of the acting categories, Allison Janney fulfilled expectations by winning the best supporting actress award for her performance as Tonya Harding's mother in I, Tonya.

Allison Janney accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for I, Tonya. Photo / AP
Allison Janney accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for I, Tonya. Photo / AP

Sam Rockwell won best supporting actor for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, while Gary Oldman won best actor for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Best actress winner Frances McDormand's acceptance speech made for one of the more memorable moments of the night as she accepted the award for her fiery performance as a grieving mother in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

McDormand invited all of the female nominees in the room to stand up in the crowd with her, saying: "Look around ladies and gentleman, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed."

Frances McDormand accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Photo / AP
Frances McDormand accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Photo / AP

McDormand finished with two cryptic words; "inclusion rider". 2 Broke girls creator Whitney Cummings elaborated on the term on Twitter: "An inclusion rider is something actors put into their contracts to ensure gender and racial equality in hiring on movie sets."

The Oscars were a much more muted ceremony than the Golden Globes, at which protest dominated the ceremony, with actresses showing up in black and bringing along a number of women's rights activists.

The Oscars only featured brief moments that pushed the envelope, such as Emma Stone reference the gender disparity of the best directing category by saying; "these four men, and Greta Gerwig".

Stone's comment echoed Natalie Portman's rousing statement at the Golden Globes, at which the best director category excluded women entirely. Portman presented the award by saying, "here are the all-male nominees".

Gerwig is only the fifth woman to be nominated for a best directing oscar. Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have won, receiving the award for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele's win for best original screenplay was a milestone for Hollywood diversity, with Peele's genre-defying film proving the box-office power of diverse films.

Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele accepts the award for best original screenplay. Photo / AP
Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele accepts the award for best original screenplay. Photo / AP

Widely regarded as one of the most resonant and important films of 2017 for its biting commentary on race in America, Get Out made US$255 million (NZ$352.9m) from its US$4.5 million (NZ$6.2m) budget.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins won his first Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 after a staggering 14 nominations throughout his career. Deakins has been nominated in the cinematography category for films such as Sicario, Skyfall and The Shawshank Redemption.

Eighty-nine-year-old James Ivory became the oldest-ever winner of the best adapted screenplay award for Call Me By Your Name, a poetic love story which he adapted from the Andre Aciman novel of the same name. Ivory has previously been nominated for three best directing Oscars since 1987.

James Ivory accepts the award for best adapted screenplay for Call Me by Your Name. Photo / AP
James Ivory accepts the award for best adapted screenplay for Call Me by Your Name. Photo / AP

As a nod to Call Me By Your Name, Ivory was sporting a shirt with an illustration of actor Timothee Chalamet as the lead character, Elio.

THE WINNERS
Best Picture
WINNER: The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actress
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird
Meryl Streep in The Post

Actor
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Denzel Washington, Roman J Israel, Esq

Directing
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson

Original Song
WINNER: Remember Me from Coco
Mighty River from Mudbound
Mystery Of Love from Call Me by Your Name
Stand Up For Something from Marshall
This Is Me from The Greatest Showman

Original Score
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

Cinematography
WINNER: Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

Original Screenplay
WINNER: Get Out
The Big Sick
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adapted Screenplay
WINNER: Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly's Game
Mudbound

Supporting Actress
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Mary J Blige, Mudbound
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Supporting Actor:
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Documentary Feature
WINNER: Icarus
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Foreign Language Film
WINNER: A Fantastic Woman, Chile
The Insult, Lebanon
Loveless, Russia
On Body and Soul, Hungary
The Square, Sweden

Animated Feature Film
WINNER: Coco
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Live Action Short Film
WINNER: The Silent Child

Documentary (short subject)
WINNER: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Film Editing
WINNER: Dunkirk

Visual Effects
WINNER: Blade Runner 2049

Animated Short Film
WINNER: Dear Basketball

Production Design
WINNER: The Shape of Water

Makeup and Hairstyling
WINNER: Darkest Hour

Costume Design
WINNER: Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges

Sound Editing
WINNER: Dunkirk

Sound Mixing
WINNER: Dunkirk