Oscars: 12 Years A Slave best picture, but Gravity pulls in most gongs

Mar 3, 2014

The biggest winner of the night was host Ellen DeGeneres whose 'epic selfie' tweet went viral

ALFONSO CUARON'S space thriller Gravity landed seven Academy Awards last night but failed to win the coveted Best Picture gong – that accolade went to Steve McQueen's historical drama 12 Years A Slave.

So did the prizes end up in the right hands?

Some critics were "mystified" by the success of Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. It may be a "superlative piece of entertainment, with state-of-the-art digital effects cunningly yoked to some old-fashioned hokey melodrama", writes Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian's film blog, but "I must express my reservations." Rather than being a great picture, he says, Gravity is merely a "technical achievement".

In effect, the competition between 12 Years A Slave and Gravity was "a battle between art and science", says Kate Muir in The Times. In the end, though, the Academy "chose wisely", rewarding Gravity for its "technical genius" but reserving the best picture award for its rival.

Controversy followed a number of nominees on the night, including Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett, who thanked director Woody Allen for casting her in Blue Jasmine. Many critics felt the acknowledgment was contentious due to recent child abuse allegations levelled against Allen, but most agreed that Blanchett's performance was a worthy winner. "Her Jasmine was one of the great female roles of the year," Muir says.

Best Actor went to Matthew McConaughey for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, "a movie that punctuated an amazing comeback for the actor, who last year delivered equally strong performances in the small film Mud and best picture nominee The Wolf of Wall Street", said Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post.

The biggest winner of the night, however, was host Ellen DeGeneres whose "epic selfie," a photograph taken during a break in proceedings with A-listers Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep among others, became the most retweeted post in Twitter's history. The picture overtook a photograph taken of Barack Obama embracing his wife Michelle after winning a second term in office. That tweet garnered 778,424 retweets; Degeneres's effort went over the million mark within the space of 45 minutes and ended up with more than two million retweets.

The awards list in full:

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



Best Short Film - Live Action



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



Best Sound Editing



Best Visual Effects



Best Cinematography



Best Film Editing



Best Production Design

The Great Gatsby 


Best Original Score



Best Original Song

"Let It Go" - Frozen 


Best Adapted Screenplay

John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave 


Best Original Screenplay

Spike Jonze - Her

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