12 Years a Slave named Best Picture at the Oscars

Steve McQueen celebrates 12 Years a Slave's win at the Oscars with producer Brad Pitt.
Steve McQueen celebrates 12 Years a Slave's win at the Oscars with producer Brad Pitt. Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave has won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards.

The slavery epic also picked up awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o on a night when it seemed - for a while at least - that Gravity was going to sweep the board.

Lupita Nyong'o smiles as she receives her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave.
Lupita Nyong'o smiles as she receives her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Gravity picked up a handful of Oscars for its backroom staff - many of whom are British - but by far its biggest award was Alfonso Cuaron's Best Director gong.

The main winners of the 86th Annual Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture - 12 Years a Slave
  • Actor in a Leading Role - Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Actress in a Leading Role - Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Supporting Actress - Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Supporting Actor - Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • Original score - Steven Price, Gravity
  • Original song - Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez for Let It Go from Frozen
  • Original screenplay - Spike Jonze, Hero
  • Adapted screenplay - John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave

Despite losing out to Cuaron, McQueen got his moment in the spotlight as the ceremony in Los Angeles ended in triumph for his film.

Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron accepts his Oscar.
Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron accepts his Oscar. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Brad Pitt, who helped produce the film, praised the man who "brought us all together to tell that story - that is the indomitable Mr Steve McQueen".

McQueen thanked his wife who first showed him a copy of Solomon Northup's original story for "unearthing this treasure for me".

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.

– 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen
Matthew McConaughey celebrates his win for Dallas Buyers Club.
Matthew McConaughey celebrates his win for Dallas Buyers Club. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role went to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, while 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".

Cate Blanchett picks up the Best Actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine.
Cate Blanchett picks up the Best Actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

As Nyong'o took to the stage to receive her Best Supporting Actress Oscar she thanked McQueen for casting her in a film that had "been the joy of my life".

McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club co-star Jared Leto was the first big winner of the night picking up his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Jared Leto was named Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.
Jared Leto was named Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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.