Published Monday, 03 March 2014
12 Yeasr A Slave wins best picture at this year's Oscars. (© Getty)
Steve McQueen's slavery epic also picked up awards for best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o.
Actor Brad Pitt, who co-produced the film, praised McQueen for "bringing them all together" to tell the story of Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South of the United States.
Accepting the award, McQueen thanked his wife who first showed him a copy of Northup's original story for "unearthing this treasure for me".
He said: "Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery and 21 million people who still suffer slavery today".
Space drama Gravity received a number of technical awards, while Alfonso Cuaron picked up the best director award.
The best actor Oscar went to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
Accepting her award, she praised her fellow actresses including the "sublime" Sally Hawkins and said films with strong female characters were not "niche".
She said: "Audiences want to see them and in fact they earn money".
Accepting her award, Nyong'o thanked McQueen for casting her in a film which she said had "been the joy of my life".
She said: "I'm certain the dead are standing about you and they are grateful and so am I".
McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club co-star Jared Leto was the first big winner on the night and promised to celebrate to "the break of dawn".
Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway handed the Oscar for best supporting actor to Leto for his role as an HIV-positive transgender woman in the film.
Leto, who dedicated his win to the "36 million people who have lost the battle to Aids", beat big names including Michael Fassbender who was nominated for 12 Years A Slave.
Speaking backstage, Leto said: "I never thought this would happen, nobody talked about results or awards or potential, only how could we do the best job to bring this story to life. I never in a million years dreamed I would be here talking to you, it was a fantasy. I never dreamed they would give me a prize, I never won an award for doing anything on screen until Dallas Buyers Club.
"I am going to be celebrating to the break of dawn, look me in the eyes and see I will revel tonight. If they only knew what was going to happen tonight, the stories we would have to tell."
The event, known formally as the 86th Academy Awards, is broadcast around the world from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Host Ellen DeGeneres opened the show with a string of gags poking fun at the event, before taking selfies of the stars and at one point ordering pizzas.
Bill Murray paid tribute to his Ghostbusters star Harold Ramis, who died last month, before handing over another award - this time for cinematography - to Gravity which continued to pick up awards when director Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger won the Oscar for film editing.
Ramis was also remembered in a section of the ceremony dedicated to those who died in the 12 months since the last ceremony along with names including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter O'Toole and Richard Griffiths.
U2 lost out on the chance for an Oscar when the award for best song went to Let It Go from Frozen and Steve Coogan failed to win the best adapted screenplay Oscar for Philomena with 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley picking up the prize.
The award for best original screenplay went to Spike Jonze for Her.
List of main winners:
- Performance by an actor in a leading role: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
- Performance by an actress in a leading role: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
- Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
- Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years A Slave
- Achievement in directing: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
- Best motion picture of the year: 12 Years A Slave
- Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score): Steven Price for Gravity
- Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song): Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Let It Go from Frozen
- Adapted screenplay: John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave
- Original screenplay: Spike Jonze for Her
© UTV News