Only two of the pictures that featured in last night's program, the horror movie "Get Out" and the World War II drama "Dunkirk", tallied more than $100 million in domestic box-office sales, suggesting that many weren't even seen by much of the public.
Kaluuya had been nominated for his role as Chris in the horror film, "Get Out". This is McDormand's second Oscar and third nomination.
The Fox Searchlight movie's Mexican film-maker, Guillermo del Toro, won best director, dashing the hopes of a rare win by a woman or a black film-maker. Stars Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong'o took the stage to share a message of support to Dreamers ahead of announcing "Shape of Water" as the victor of best production design.
"Three Billboards" star Sam Rockwell won Best Supporting Actor.
Best Foreign Language film went to "A Fantastic Woman" from Chile, while "Icarus" from Russian Federation was named best documentary, also marking the first Oscar for streaming service Netflix.
"People of color have always been the creative forces behind some of Hollywood's most original films while receiving little recognition from the industry and few opportunities to shape the stories the industry tells about our communities, especially for women of color". Bryant was accused in 2003 of sexual assault.
The previous low-water mark for the Oscars came in 2008, when "No Country For Old Men" won best picture.
Movie fans also had their eyes out for the typically male-dominated Best Director category ― shoutout to Natalie Portman ― which included relative newcomers Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele competing against industry stalwarts like Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Pearl Jam front-man Eddie Vedder made a surprise appearance at the ceremony, to soundtrack this year's In Memorium segment with Tom Petty's "Room at the Top".