12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture at Oscars 2014 dominated by British space epic Gravity

Brit Steve McQueen becomes first black director to win Best Picture as Gravity bags seven Oscars in all

Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres began last night’s ceremony by suggesting that it would conclude in one of two ways: the first possibility, she said, was “That 12 Years A Slave wins the Best Picture Oscar. And, possibility two, you’re all racists”.

Thankfully, Hollywood ended the evening with its reputation intact, as British director Steve McQueen’s harrowing historical drama took the top prize. The film, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir of his time as a slave in the pre-Civil War American South, triumphed in what was seen as a tight three-way tussle with Gravity and American Hustle.

McQueen, who also won the Turner Prize in 1999, thus becomes the first black director ever to win Best Picture. However, he was beaten to the award for Best Director by Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron; the 52-year-old Mexican is the first Latin American ever to win the latter prize.

Cuaron’s space thriller swept the technical categories, winning a whopping seven Oscars in all, including  Best Score, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. Speaking backstage after the ceremony, Cuaron paid tribute to the film’s British technical team, saying, “The amazing know-how, quality and sophistication of the British film industry made this happen.”

 

12 Years A Slave took two more Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay for its writer John Ridley and, in perhaps the most popular win of the evening, Lupita Nyongo, who was named Best Supporting Actress. The 31-year-old Kenyan’s searing performance as Patsey, Solomon’s fellow slave, was her first ever film role.

The ceremony was relatively low-key compared to previous Academy Awards, with results that went largely according to the form book. The shortest odds had been on Cate Blanchett, who did indeed win Best Actress for the title role of Woody Allen’s most recent movie, Blue Jasmine.

READ MORE: The Oscars selfie that broke Twitter
Liza Minnelli in 'obscene' red carpet wardrobe malfunction
Benedict Cumberbatch photobombs U2
Best supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o hailed fashion queen

Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey’s remarkable recent career trajectory peaked with his being named Best Actor. The 44-year-old lost 40 pounds to play AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. His co-star, Jared Leto, was named Best Supporting Actor for his performance as transgender AIDS sufferer Rayon. In his acceptance speech, Leto name-checked the “ dreamers” presently protesting in Ukraine and Venezuela; the 42-year-old later told reporters that his rock band, 30 Seconds to Mars, had been due to a play concert in Ukraine in the coming weeks.

The night’s biggest loser was American Hustle; David O Russell’s fictionalisation of the 1970s ABSCAM scandal was nominated in 10 categories, but left empty-handed. So too did its fellow Best picture nominees Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips and Philomena.

The biggest shock of the evening came when the critically lauded The Act of Killing was beaten in the Best Documentary category by its music-themed rival, 20 Feet From Stardom. That award marked the only win of the evening for producer and Oscar veteran Harvey Weinstein, who also produced Philomena.

DeGeneres was considered a safe choice for host following Seth MacFarlane’s controversial 2013 turn. At one point she made a bid to create the most re-tweeted photo in history, by taking a selfie of herself, Leto, Nyongo, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum and Kevin Spacey. The photo surpassed the previous record-holder – an image of Barack and Michelle Obama – in around an hour.

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015