Alejandro González Iñárritu Wins 2016 Academy Award for Best Director for The Revenant
updated 02/29/2016 AT 12:40 AM EST
•originally published 02/29/2016 AT 12:35 AM EST
J.J. Abrams presented the visionary with 2016 Academy Award for Best Director – his fourth Oscar win and seventh nomination. At last year's awards show, Iñárritu took home three Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing and Best Motion Picture of the Year for his film Birdman.
During his acceptance speech, Iñárritu, who also won Best Director at the 2016 Golden Globes, applauded his star-studded cast, including Best Actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio, for their tremendous efforts during filming.
"Leo, you are The Revenant. Thank you for [giving] every soul, your soul, your art, your life. Tom Hardy, all of the Native American cast, all the English American cast, thank you very much for your trust, for your talent," he said.
The award-winner added, "So what a great opportunity for our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and this tribal thinking and make sure for once and forever that the color of our skin become as relevant as the length of our hair."
Check out PEOPLE's full Academy Awards 2016 coverage and complete winners list!
The other contenders in the category were Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Lenny Abrahamson (Room) and Tom McCarthy (Spotlight).
The 88th annual Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, are being presented live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.