Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Los Angeles - Sam Rockwell won the best supporting actor Oscar on Sunday, while Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time in confronting the sexual misconduct scandal that has dominated Hollywood.

Rockwell, the front-runner for the Academy Award, took home the trophy for his role as a racist, dim-witted police officer in Fox Searchlight dark comedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

Opening the show before an A-list audience of scores of actors and filmmakers, many of whom have said they are victims of sexual harassment, Kimmel pulled no punches about the elephant in the room.

Noting that it was the 90th year of the ceremony, Kimmel said the tall golden Oscar statue itself was "the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood."

"He keeps his hands where you can see them, he never says a rude word and most importantly he has no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations. That's the kind of man we need more of," Kimmel quipped.

The sexual misconduct scandal has led to dozens of actors, filmmakers and agents being fired or forced to stand down since October 2017, and has overshadowed the movie industry's annual awards season celebrations.

Referring to Fox Searchlight's 13-time Oscar-nominated fantasy romance "The Shape of Water," in which a cleaning lady falls in love with a mysterious river creature, Kimmel joked:

"We will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly that women started dating fish."

The scandal was also a topic on the red carpet, and the Time's Up campaign against sexual harassment in the wider workplace is expected to be recognised in some form during Sunday's ceremony.

See list of winners below:

Actress in a supporting role

Allison Janney, "I, Tonya"

Actor in a supporting role

Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Best animated feature film


Best foreign language film

"A Fantastic Woman"

Best documentary


Best production design

"The Shape of Water," Paul D. Austerberry

Best costume design

"Phantom Thread," Mark Bridges

Best makeup and hair styling

"Darkest Hour," Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

Best sound editing

"Dunkirk," Richard King and Alex Gibson

Best sound mixing

"Dunkirk," Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten

Best animated short film

"Dear Basketball"

Reuters and IOL