“12 Years A Slave” creates history at 86th Academy awards
Steve McQueen’s slavery drama “12 Years A Slave” scripted history today by becoming the first film by a black director to win the best picture Oscar
Los Angeles: Steve McQueen’s slavery drama “12 Years A Slave” scripted history today by becoming the first film by a black director to win the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy awards where Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D space drama “Gravity” won seven trophies.
Director-producer Steve McQueen, 44, was lauded for his unflinching portrayal of America’s dark past, a subject often ignored in Hollywood movies.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today,” said McQueen, who lost the best director Oscar to Alfonso Cuaron.
Film’s co-producer Brad Pitt too reminded the audience about Northup’s life that tells the story of a free man forced into slavery in the 19th century America.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon Northup’s story,” Pitt, 50, said.
The film’s actress Lupita Nyong’o won in the best supporting actress category while John Ridley won for the best adapted screenplay.
In a year where the 6,000 Oscar voters spread their love to different films, “Gravity” came away with the maximum haul of seven trophies, thanks to its technical brilliance.
Besides the best director Oscar, the Mexican helmer shared another trophy for editing his Sandra Bullock starrer outer space drama. “Gravity” also won trophies for sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, cinematography and original score.
“Sandy, you are ‘Gravity’. You are the soul, heart of the film, the most amazing collaborator and one of the best people I’ve ever met. George Clooney, for your absolute trust,” Cuaron, 52, said.
Best actress Oscar went to Cate Blanchett for her role of a broke but snobbish high-society woman in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”.
“Blanchett, who received a standing ovation, joked, “Sit down. You’re too old to be standing.”
“I’m here excepting an award in an extraordinary screenplay by Woody Allen. Thank you so much, Woody, for casting me. I truly appreciate it,” Blanchett said while praising the work by her fellow nominees.
True-story of AIDS activist Ron Woodroof brought actor Matthew McConaughey his career’s first Oscar in the best actor category.
There was mystery surrounding Blanchett’s speech as many thought she may not mention Allen’s name due to sexual assault allegations that he is facing from his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.
McConaughey, who lost almost 20 kgs for “Dallas Buyers Club” thanked God, his parents and family.
“There’s a few things, about three things to my account that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase,” the actor said after his first Oscar win.
His co-star Jared Leto was the first winner of the night by taking home the Oscar in the best supporting actor category for his touching portrayal of an AIDS suffering transgender. The actor-musician, 42, gave a shout out to the people in Ukraine and anti-government protesters in Venezuela.
“To all the dreamers out there… in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, we are here. And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” Leto said.
Kenyan actress Nyong’o, who was a favourite to win, was emotional as she lifted the best supporting Oscar for her debut in “12 Years A Slave”.
“It does not escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance and for Solomon… Thank you for telling her story and your own.”
Spike Jonze won the original screenplay Oscar for his futuristic romance “Her” which describes a love affair between a man and the voice of his computer operating system.
The song-filled ceremony was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, who brought laughs with her quick repartees but without offending the A-list crowd.
The biggest snubs of the night were reserved for the other most nominated film “American Hustle” which returned empty handed despite its 10 nominations.
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s fifth collaboration “The Wolf of Wall Street” too failed to win any Oscar despite both the actor and director being nominated.
Another earlier front-runner to return without Oscar gold was Tom Hanks starrer “Captain Phillips”.
The best foreign film Oscar predictably went to Paolo Sorrentino directed “The Great Beauty” which brought Italy its record 11th Oscar in the category.
Disney’s 3D animation film “Frozen” won the best original song for ‘Let It Go’ and the best animated feature film.
The Academy awards, held at Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, paid tribute to departed stars Harold Ramis, James Gandolfini, Elmore Leonard, Philip Seymore Hoffman, Paul Walter, Joan Fontaine, Tom Sherak, Karen Black and Shirly Temple among others.