HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Director Alfonso Cuaron accepts the Best Achievement in Directing award for 'Gravity' onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Gravity has dominated Oscar night, with a raft of technical trophies as well as an Academy Award for director Alfonso Cuaron.
"Making a film can be a traumatic experience," Cuaron said as he took the stage.
"it was a very formative experience and it’s good because it took so long. If not, it would have been a waste of time," he quipped before also thanking his son and the film's co-writer, Jonas Cuaron, and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who was also a producer.
The eye-popping space saga ruled over the technical honours, including Oscars for cinematography, visual effects (a team that included Montreal-based Chris Lawrence of Framestore), film editing, sound editing, sound mixing and original score.
Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o, a fixture of the awards season for her blistering turn in 12 Years a Slave, earned best supporting actress for her role as the tormented slave Patsey — her first major role after attending the Yale School of Drama — in Steve McQueen's searing film.
"It doesn’t escape me for a moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. So I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance and for Solomon [Northup], thank you for telling her story and your own," she said in her acceptance, in which she also thanked McQueen and her co-stars.
"This has been the joy of my life… When I look down on this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid."
The film, based on free man Northup's 1853 memoir of being kidnapped and spending more than a decade enslaved, also earned John Ridley an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée, picked up an early pair of Oscars. Jared Leto, who had taken a six-year break from acting before tackling the film, picked up the evening's first award — best supporting actor — for his turn as an HIV-positive transgender prostitute.
In addition to paying special tribute to his mother and brother, the actor and rocker also referenced AIDS victims and current zones of political unrest in his speech.
"To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and, as you struggle to make your dreams happen [and] to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight," Leto declared.
"This is the for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world for you."
The film also picked up an Oscar for its makeup and hair-styling.
A Montreal-based crew won the Oscar for best documentary short subject, with filmmakers Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed accepting for the international co-production The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
Other winners include:
- Costume design: The Great Gatsby.
- Production design: The Great Gatsby.
- Animated short film: Mr. Hublot.
- Animated feature film: Frozen.
- Live action short film: Helium.
- Documentary feature: 20 Feet from Stardom.
- Foreign-language film: The Great Beauty.
- Original song: Let it Go (from Frozen).
- Original screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her.
The nine films vying for the coveted best-picture trophy are:
- 12 Years a Slave.
- American Hustle.
- Captain Phillips.
- Dallas Buyers Club.
- The Wolf of Wall Street.
The Oscars are the culmination of the annual movie awards season. The star-studded, lengthy televised gala will be broadcast live to more than 200 countries and is typically watched by more than 30 million people.
Hosted by talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres, the 86th Academy Awards show is Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and will air live on ABC and CTV.
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