Oscars 2014: Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director in night of triumph for British space epic

The run of great British wins at the Oscars continues

Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron took home twin Oscars for Best Director and Best Editing at last night’s 86th Academy Awards, capping a winning evening for the production’s largely British technical team. The 52-year-old Mexican was the first Latin American director ever to win the top directing prize; his film went away with a total of seven Oscars, the largest haul of the night.

The space-bound drama, in which astronaut Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) finds herself stranded alone in orbit, was also awarded Oscars in the Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects categories, in recognition of its ground-breaking technical achievements. The movie was entirely filmed in Buckinghamshire, and its visual effects were created by Framestore, an effects firm in Soho, London. Gravity's British composer Steven Price also won the Academy Award for Best Score.

A long-time London resident, Cuaron wrote the screenplay for the sci-fi thriller with his son Jonas Cuaron, and spent almost five years bringing their vision to the screen. Accepting the directing gong, Cuaron said the film's prolonged production process had been, "A transformative experience, which is good because it took so long... For a lot of those people [who worked on Gravity] that transformation was wisdom, for me it was just the colour of my hair!"

 

Speaking backstage after his wins, Cuaron, who has made three films in the UK, said: "The amazing know-how, quality and sophistication of the British film industry made this happen." He added that the film's technical feats were all in the service of its lead actor's performance. "All of this was down to Sandra Bullock," he said. "Everything we did was honouring Sandra Bullock's performance."

Gravity has been a huge commercial as well as critical success, and has already taken around £420m at the box office worldwide. Cuaron was previously nominated for Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing for his 2007 film Children of Men, and for Best Original Screenplay for Y Tu Mama Tambien (2003), which he also directed.

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