Historical drama 12 Years a Slave has won best picture at the 86th Academy Awards, while space drama Gravity won the lion’s share of awards, BBC informs.
Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latin American to win the best director award, adding to the film’s six Oscars for technical achievement.
Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her portrayal of the heroine in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.
It is the second consecutive year the best director and best picture prize have been awarded to different films.
Cuaron praised the “transformative” power of film and singled out the film’s star Sandra Bullock as “the soul, the heart of Gravity”. The film – which took five years to complete, and owes much to the technical prowess of British visual effects specialists – also won Oscars for film editing, sound mixing, sound editing, cinematography, visual effects and original score.
Steve McQueen, the British director of 12 Years a Slave, dedicated the best picture Oscar to “all those people who have endured slavery”. Based on a true story, it follows the life of a free black man – Northup – who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
Producer Brad Pitt praised “the indomitable Mr. McQueen” – a Turner Prize winning artist-turned-director – for “bringing them all together” to tell Northup’s story.
Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o won the best supporting actress award for her film debut as slave worker Patsey.
The film won a third Oscar for John Ridley’s adapted screenplay. “All the praise goes to Northup,” Ridley said, “these are his words”.
Spike Jonze collected the best original screenplay for Her. As predicted, McConaughey took the best actor prize for his role as real life rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof, who smuggled HIV drugs into the US. Best actress winner Blanchett paid tribute to her rivals, including Dame Judi Dench – who was not at the ceremony – acknowledging “the random and subjective” nature of awards ceremonies.
McConaughey’s co-star Jared Leto won the first Oscar of the night, picking up best supporting actor for his role as transgender woman who becomes Woodruff’s business partner and unlikely friend.