Ontario's Paul Haggis pulled off a surprise win Sunday night as Crash beat front-runner Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture.
Haggis and co-writer Bobby Moresco also accepted the award for Best Original Screenplay for Crash. "I want to thank people who take risks in their daily lives when there aren't cameras rolling," said Haggis.
The film also won for Best Film Editing.
As predicted, Best Director went to Ang Lee for the Alberta-shot Brokeback Mountain.
Philip Seymour Hoffman surprised few with the win for Best Actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the Manitoba-filmed Capote. "I'm in a category with some great, great actors and I am overwhelmed," he said. Hoffman was emotional as he recognized his mother.
Best Actress honours went to Walk the Line's Reese Witherspoon, who said the film helped her realize her lifetime dream of being a country singer. "(My parents) never hesitated to say how proud they were of me," she said. Witherspoon also acknowledged her husband, actor Ryan Phillippe, and her late grandmother.
George Clooney has won Best Supporting Actor at the 78th Academy Award. The night's first award was handed out by Nicole Kidman.
Clooney was recognized for his work in Syriana.
At the podium the actor, who is also nominated for Best Director for Good Night, and Good Luck, quipped: "I guess I'm not getting Director."
Clooney is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Pregnant Rachel Weisz earned the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The Constant Gardener. "Thank you. Thank you so much," said the grateful star.
Director Robert Altman picked up an Honorary Oscar for his career achievement. "I look at it as a nod to all of my films, " he said. "To me, I've just made one long film."
King Kong was honoured for Best Visual Effects, beating out Chronicles of Narnia and War of the Worlds. Some of the digital effects for the blockbuster were done by Ottawa's XYZ RGB. King Kong also won for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.
Best Animated Feature was awarded to Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which beat Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Howl's Moving Castle.
Six Shooter won Best Live Action Short Film. It was presented by Luke and Owen Wilson, who got their start with a short film called Bottle Rocket. Best Animated Short Film went to The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation.
Colleen Atwood accepted the prize for Best Costume Design for her work on Memoirs of a Geisha. She singled out the people of Japan for inspiring her work. The movie also won Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.
Best Make-Up honours went to Howard Berger and Tami Lane for Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe.
Canada's Rachel McAdams was showcased in a taped segment highlighting some of the winners of the Scientific and Technical Awards, which were handed out last month in Beverly Hills.
Best Documentary Short Subject went to A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Noman Corwin.
March of the Penguins won Best Documentary Feature. Morgan Freeman, who narrated the English version of the film, listened intently to the acceptance speeches from producers, who held plush penguins.
Brokeback Mountain's first award of the night went to composer Gustavo Santaollala for Best Original Score. It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp won Best Original Song. It later won Best Adapted Screenplay for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.
Best Foreign Language Film went to South Africa's Tsotsi.
"Crash," an ensemble story about underlying racial tensions across Los Angeles, won Best Picture on Sunday night at the Academy Awards. Its surprise win proved true the eleventh-hour buzz that surrounded the film, which touched a nerve among people who live in and around the endless, multicultural sprawl of the city and intuit its character from behind the wheels of their cars.
"Crash" has been controversial, with critics saying that it oversimplifies race issues and that some of the characters were stereotypes -- a notion that director Paul Haggis again batted aside during a backstage interview. "My favorite kind of film is the kind where you argue when you walk outside after the film, and break up with your date."
Best Original Score went to Gustavo Santaolalla for his work on "Brokeback Mountain"; the Best Animated Feature was "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit."