It was a night low on controversy but high on emotion, the Academy rewarding the worthy and where Gravity won big, but sanity prevailed.
The 86th Academy Awards were held in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood last night and there were three films set to make all the headlines. In the end, it came down to just two.
Winning ten awards between them, Gravity (7) and 12 Years A Slave (3) were the big winners, whilst there were successes for low budget Dallas Buyers Club (3) and Disney’s animated return to form, Frozen (2- Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song).
After the sexism controversy of last years show from host Seth McFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres returned to host the awards for the second time and stuck largely with a safe set of jokes for the majority, although she courted controversy early, suggesting the Academy were racist if 12 Years A Slave didn’t win Best Picture and naming Anne Hathaway as the nights’ “first white presenter“. The presenting was formulaic but fun, with Ellen readily joining the assorted stars, ordering pizza and taking selfies, posting what is now the most retweeted image ever on Twitter (below).
As for the awards themselves, there were few surprises, with Gravity having huge success in the technical fields and looked set to run away with things early on, winning 6 of the first 7 awards they were up for, including film editing, sound mixing, sound editing, cinematography, visual effects and original score.
Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor for his role as transgender AIDS sufferer Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club and gave a heartwarming speech, thanking his mum, and using his platform to raise awareness of the current crisis in the Ukraine.
Newcomer Lupita Nyongo’o was a popular choice as Best Supporting Actress for her role as tortured slave Patsey in 12 Years A Slave and she thanked her director Steve McQueen for giving her the role, which she described as “the joy of my life“.
Few would have denied Cate Blanchett was the strongest choice for Best Actress and won deservedly, with Matthew McConaughey rounding of a fantastic year for him by winning Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.
Alfonso CÃƒºaron ensured Gravity got a seventh award, taking home Best Directing, awarded in part, one can assume, for his role in creating so many of the breakthrough advancements that brought it to screen, and perhaps his perseverance for sticking with it for all the five years it took to film.
And so to the final award for Best Film. After Wolf Of Wall Street and American Hustle had been snubbed for all their categories, despite being nominated fifteen times between them, the big prize was just a two horse race. Gravity, for its technical achievements, and 12 Years A Slave for its historical relevance. Given the success throughout the night for Gravity, and the Academy’s propensity for making absurd decisions, few could be forgiven for thinking the space drama might also take the top prize. But it was Steve McQueen’s epic tale of slavery which won, McQueen dedicating the award to ensuring that all humans have the right “not just to survive, but to live” and that the man whose experiences the film was based upon, Solomon Northup’s legacy, is recognised today with 21 million people currently in slavery.
A poignant message to end an emotional night that wasn’t full of drama but held a strong message that whilst it is important to reward our advancements in technology, true emotion can be drawn by understanding our past.
BEST PICTURE: 12 Years a Slave
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Great Gatsby
BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING: Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): Mr Hublot
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Frozen
BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): Helium
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: 20 Feet from Stardom
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Great Beauty (Italy)
BEST SOUND MIXING: Gravity
BEST SOUND EDITING: Gravity
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Gravity
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gravity
BEST FILM EDITING: Gravity
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The Great Gatsby
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Gravity
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Let It Go – Frozen
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Spike Jonze – Her