Spotlight was the big winner at last night’s Independent Spirit Awards, taking home five gongs, including best feature. The ceremony, which was held at Santa Monica Beach, included many references to the ongoing diversity debate in Hollywood, just one night before this year’s Oscars.

Michael KeatonSpotlight’s Michael Keaton.

Spotlight took home the awards for best feature, best director, best screenplay, best editing and best ensemble cast. The drama, directed by Tom McCarthy focuses on the investigation by the Boston Globe newspaper into sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

Accepting the award for best feature, producer Michael Sugar said: "It's rare to make a film that impacts the world as significantly as this one has. By honouring it, you're making more people aware of it, and as more people are aware of it, more can be spared from a life of abuse.”

More: 'Creed' Director Ryan Coogler To Hold Flint Fundraiser On Oscars Night

Netflix feature Beasts of No Nation took home two awards, including best supporting actor for Idris Elba, who was snubbed by this year’s Oscars. Paying tribute to the people of Ghana, where the film was set, the actor said: "I'm half Ghanaian, it was my first time in Ghana. It was incredible, it was like a homecoming for me.”

Elba’s 13-year-old co-star Abraham Attah also picked up the award for best actor. Best actress went to Brie Larson for The Room, who is also nominated for an Oscar at tonight’s ceremony. The Room also picked up the award for best first screenplay.

More: Bookmakers Predictions For Sunday's Academy Awards: Leonardo DiCaprio Still The Favourite

Tangerine’s Mya Taylor became the first transgender actress to win an Independent Spirt Award, after being named best supporting actress. Accepting the award, Taylor told filmmakers in the room: "There's very beautiful trans talent. You got to get out there and put it in your next movie.”

Last night’s ceremony included many references to the ongoing diversity debate in Hollywood, which has dominated this year’s Oscars coverage. Host Kumail Nanjiani set the tone for the night by introducing himself and co-host Kate McKinnon as, “a gay woman and a Pakistani man. Or as Hollywood thinks of us, a straight woman and her IT guy."