And the Oscar goes to diversity as academy gets its act together
The brutal, unshrinking historical drama '12 Years A Slave' won Best Picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards, where diversity was perhaps the biggest winner.
For the first time, a movie directed by a black filmmaker – Steve McQueen of '12 Years A Slave' – won Best Picture, and a Mexican – Alfonso Cuaron of 'Gravity' – took home Best Director in a ceremony presided over by a lesbian host and overseen by the academy's first black president.
Cuaron's lost-in-space thriller 'Gravity' led the Oscars with seven awards, including cinematography, editing, score, visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing.
The entire Oscar ceremony had the feel of a makeover for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – an institution that has sometimes seemed stuck in the past.
'Dallas Buyers Club', the Best Picture-nominated drama about AIDS in 1980s Texas, took two decades to get made after countless executives balked at financing such a tale. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won best actor and best supporting actor for their roles in the film as a heterosexual rodeo rat (McConaughey) and a transgender drug addict (Leto) united by HIV.
Cate Blanchett, best-actress winner for her bitter, ruined socialite in Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine', used her acceptance speech to trumpet the need to make films with female leads – films like her own and 'Gravity', starring Sandra Bullock.
Lupita Nyong'o was a first-time Oscar winner for her supporting role as field slave Patsey in '12 Years'. "I'm a little dazed," said the Kenyan actress afterwards. "I can't believe this is real life."
The Irish ended up empty-handed. U2 were tipped to win the Best Original Song for 'Ordinary Love' from 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' but lost to 'Let it Go' from animated film 'Frozen'.
Michael Fassbender, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a slave owner in '12 Years', lost out to Leto.