86th Academy Awards make history as Steve McQueen becomes first black director to win Hollywood’s highest honor.
Harrowing historical drama 12 Years a Slave was crowned best picture on Sunday, while 3D space thriller Gravity was the top prizewinner at the 86th Academy Awards with seven Oscars.
True-life AIDS activist drama Dallas Buyers Club won three Oscars, including best actor for Matthew McConaughey, while Australia’s Cate Blanchett won best actress for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
But 1970s crime caper American Hustle and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street went home empty-handed from the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood’s annual awards season.
12 Years a Slave won three Oscars overall: best picture, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress for Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o for her searing turn as a brutalized slave. “I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today,” its British director Steve McQueen said at the climax of the three-and-half-hour show. McQueen’s win marks the first time a black director has won the coveted best picture award at the Oscars.
Mexican Alfonso Cuaron won best director for Gravity, which took six other prizes: best visual effects, sound editing, sound mixing, cinematography, film editing and original score.
As widely expected, Jared Leto won the best supporting actor Oscar for his fearless portrayal of a transgender woman suffering from AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. The actor and rock musician used his acceptance speech to send a topical message to people in troubled Ukraine and anti-government protesters in Venezuela. “To all the dreamers out there … in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, we are here. And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” Leto said. Dallas Buyers Club also won the make-up and hairstyling award.
A tearful Nyong’o—who turned 31 on Saturday—earned a standing ovation as she took the stage to accept her prize. She paid tribute to her slave character Patsey, saying: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”
Disney’s blockbuster musical hit Frozen won best animated feature—the studio’s first since the category was introduced in 2002—as well as best original song for “Let It Go.”
Host Ellen DeGeneres opened with a monologue making fun of the storms that hit California on the eve of the Oscars. “It’s been a tough couple of days for us here. It has been raining,” she said, addressing the global audience of millions. “We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers,” she deadpanned.
In a generally well-received second outing as Oscars host, DeGeneres set Twitter ablaze when a selfie photo she took with stars such as Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence went viral. By the end of the show, it had more than 2.1 million retweets, shattering the previous record for the most retweeted tweet.
This year’s Oscars race was one of the most fiercely contested for decades, as a pack of outstanding films campaigned for the ballots of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s 6,000 voting members. The best picture race had been so close that the winner could have come down to only a few votes, under the Academy’s preferential voting system.
The complete list of winners follows:
12 Years a Slave
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Best Lead Actor
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Best Animated Feature Film
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Costume Design
The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
Best Documentary Feature
20 Feet from Stardom
Best Documentary (Short Subject)
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Film Editing
Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
Best Foreign Language Film
The Great Beauty, Italy
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club, Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
Best Original Score
Gravity, Steven Price
Best Original Song
“Let It Go” from Frozen
Best Production Design
The Great Gatsby, Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
Best Animated Short Film
Best Live Action Short Film
Best Sound Editing
Gravity, Glenn Freemantle
Best Sound Mixing
Gravity, Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
Best Visual Effects
Gravity, Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley
Best Original Screenplay
Her, written by Spike Jonze