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Harrowing drama "12 Years a Slave" wins best picture at 86th Oscars

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-03

Harrowing historical drama "12 Years a Slave" won the coveted best picture Oscar on Sunday, at the climax of the 86th Academy Awards.

Space thriller “Gravity” from Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron meanwhile racked up six Oscars, including best director, a reward for its groundbreaking work on conveying space and weightlessness.

Cate Blanchett won best actress for her bravura performance as a fragile socialite experiencing a meltdown in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine".

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor for his role in true-life AIDS activist drama "Dallas Buyers Club."

Lupita Nyong’o from "12 Years a Slave" won the best supporting actress Oscar, beating Jennifer Lawrence for her role as a loopy housewife in “American Hustle”. Her win injected some drama halfway through the 86th awards, after early Oscars went to heavy favourites.

Jared Leto won best supporting actor for his role as a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club” and the tale of Nordic princesses, “Frozen,” won best animated film, a first for Disney Animation Studios since the category was introduced in 2002.

Comedian and talk show star Ellen DeGeneres returned as Oscar host on Sunday in an appearance many saw as calculated to project a lighter, more affable tone for Hollywood’s biggest night after critics widely panned last year's ceremony and host Seth MacFarlane's provocative humour.

She mixed with the star-studded crowd, taking selfies with the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and showed in her opening monologue she was not above poking fun at some of the film industry’s biggest names.

Host Ellen Generes boasted that she "broke Twitter" with her photo of A-listers Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o and her brother, Channing Tatum, and Bradley Cooper.

Leto, who returned to acting from a six-year break in the low budget AIDS drama, “Dallas Buyers Club,” injected a serious note into the show in his acceptance speech, paying tribute to all those who have died from the worldwide HIV epidemic.

“This is for the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to AIDS,” Leto said.

Leto also brought international political unrest into the Dolby Theatre by voicing his support for protesters battling their governments in Ukraine and Venezuela.

In accepting the first award of the night for “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o, 31, paid homage to her character, Patsey, a hardworking slave who suffers great abuse in the story based on the memoir of free man turned slave, Solomon Northup.

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance,” a tearful Nyong’o told the audience.

Nyong'o steals the show

In one of the strongest years for film in recent memory , the 6,000-plus voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences scattered golden Oscar statuettes widely among the many acclaimed movies in contention.

Sunday was the culmination of an unusually long awards season, extended by the Winter Olympics, and for many of the nominees it spelled the end to months of campaigning and years of work on a film.

Bedecked in gowns, tuxedos and even shorts, the world’s top actors and actresses strode down the red carpet right after the sun broke through four days of heavy rain that threatened to put a damper on Hollywood’s biggest night.

In a sea of shimmering metallics and bold jewel tones, the fashion darling of the awards season, Nyong’o, won over the most high-stakes red carpet of them all.

The Kenyan actress wore a custom halter-neck pastel blue Prada gown which she helped to design, saying it was inspired by champagne bubbles and a color that reminded her of Nairobi.

Nyong’o’s co-star, British best actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, the film’s main protagonist, showed up in the classic tuxedo, while singer Pharrell Williams wore a Lanvin tux with shorts rather than trousers.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

 

Date created : 2014-03-03

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