‘12 Years a Slave’ Wins Best Picture; Alfonso Cuarón Takes Best Director at Oscars


The Oscars: Winners below...

12 Years a Slave took Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards Sunday night, winning the big prize at the world's oldest film-awards ceremony, and capping a slew of honors at recent competitive events including the top prize at the Spirit Awards Saturday and the BAFTA best picture last month. Steve McQueen held back emotion as he accepted the prize on stage for the film at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, asking for another minute to finish his thoughts in a ceremony that ran over a half hour from its planned three hours. “Everyone deserves to live," said McQueen on behalf of the film that had its U.S. debut at the 51st New York Film Festival. "I dedicate this [Oscar] to all who have endured slavery [including] the 21 million who still do...”

Alfonso Cuarón won the prize for Best Director for his popular feature Gravity. “Film can be a transformative experience,” he said on stage, jokingly adding, "That transformation can be wisdom, but for me it was the color of my hair."

NYFF gala honoree Cate Blanchett continued her winning streak for her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine by taking the Oscar for Best Actress. “It means a great deal. [This was a] year of extraordinary performances by women…” and continued by praising her fellow nominees. She also made a plea for stories that are led by women noting their success at the box office: “Audiences want to see female [oriented film] and in fact, they earn money.”

Matthew McConaughey thanked God and his family as he took the stage for his Best Actor win for Dallas Buyers Club. In an animated acceptance, he referenced his role in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused as he closed out a speech in which he said that people should consider their aspirations as their “heroes.”

McConaughey continued: “Whatever we look up to and are chasing [a dream], I say alright, alright alright...”

Also taking home Oscars Sunday were Lupita Nyong'o (Best Supporting Actress) for her role in 12 Years a Slave, while Jared Leto won Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club. Nyong'o said, "It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life came from such tragedy, so I salute the spirit of Patsy . . . Thank you so much for putting me in this position, this has been the joy of my life.”  Leto also received kudos for his speech, thanking his mother for giving him the opportunity and freedom to express himself creatively.  He also made reference to current global trouble spots Venezuela and the Ukraine and paid tribute to the millions of people who died of AIDS since the last century.

Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 86th Oscars Sunday night in Los Angeles. She made a several outfit changes, and at one point wore the costume of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. She also likely broke a Twitter record, tweeting a photo of herself with a slew of stars that reached over a 2.1 million re-tweets by 12:22am EST.

[Related: Film Comment's interview with Best Director winner Alfonso Cuarón]

[Related: Matthew McConaughey Says Acting & Process Outstrip the Rewards]

[Related: ‘12 Years a Slave’ Takes Best Picture, Best Director and More at Independent Spirit Awards]

[Related: Paolo Sorrentino Talks Roman Decadence in 'The Great Beauty']

Oscar nominations follow. As each winner is announced Sunday night from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, the winning selection will appear solo in each category.

Best motion picture of the year - “12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, and Anthony Katagas, Producers

Achievement in directing - “Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón


Performance by an actress in a leading role - Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”


Performance by an actor in a leading role - Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role - 
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role - Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Achievement in film editing - 
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

Achievement in cinematography - 
“Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki

Adapted screenplay - John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave” 

Original screenplay - Spike Jonze for 
“Her” 

Best documentary feature - 
“20 Feet from Stardom”

Best foreign language film of the year - “The Great Beauty” Italy


Best animated feature film of the year - “Frozen” Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho


Achievement in costume design - “The Great Gatsby” Catherine Martin


Best documentary short subject - “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling - “Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score) - 
“Gravity” Steven Price


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) - “Let It Go” from “Frozen”
 Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Achievement in production design - “The Great Gatsby” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn

Best animated short film - 
“Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares


Best live action short film - “Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson

Achievement in sound editing - "Gravity" Glenn Freemantle

Achievement in sound mixing - 
“Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, and Chris Munro

Achievement in visual effects - “Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, and Neil Corbould

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