’12 Years a Slave’ Wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards

12yearsaslave_OscarsHistory was made tonight!

Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years a Slave” becomes the first film directed and produced by a black filmmaker to win the top category of Best Motion Picture at the 86th Academy Awards.  The Fox Searchlight Pictures distributed film netted three wins including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o, and Best Adapted Screenplay for scribe John Ridley.  It also marks the second year in a row that the Best Picture and Best Director prizes split between two films.

The big winner of the evening was Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” which won seven Oscars including Best Director.  Much of the evening seemed like it was leaning towards the Warner Bros. film before losing Production Design, Lead Actress, and eventually Best Picture.  “Gravity” becomes the most rewarded film since the expansion of the Best Picture nominees.  Cuaron also becomes the first Hispanic filmmaker to win Best Director, which was presented by Sidney Poitier and Angelina Jolie.

The big story of the night is David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” which becomes the first film to lose every single major Oscar category it was nominated in.  I thought the 1970’s aura and flashy costumes would secure a win for Costumes and perhaps Original Screenplay but in the end, Spike Jonze rightfully snatched his first Oscar for his beautiful love story “Her.”

Jean-Marc Vallee‘s “Dallas Buyers Club” tied with “12 Years a Slave” for the evening’s most wins, picking up two acting Oscars for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.  The Focus Features film also nabbed Best Makeup & Hairstyling.

Not too many other surprises came during the night unless you were shocked by “Mr. Hublot” edging out “Get a Horse” for Best Animated Short.  “20 Feet from Stardom” won Best Documentary Feature while Italy’s “The Great Beauty” won Best Foreign Language Film.

Cate Blanchett won her second Academy Award for her stunning portrayal in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”  She previously won an Academy Award in 2004 for Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” in which she portrayed Oscar’s most rewarded actress Katharine Hepburn.

The evening was without a few too many montages and some awkward moments.  While Ellen Degeneres gets an “A” in my book for hosting, the evening lagged with misplaced singing from Bette Midler and although beautiful but bewildering rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from Pink to honor “The Wizard of Oz.”

There’s plenty more to talk about and we’ll be weighing in all week-long.  Oscars don’t end here.  I will be releasing Year-in-Advance Predictions for 2015 on Tuesday.  We also have some of the community’s favorite past times including Circuit Madness, where we choose the Best Actress winner of All-Time in a “March Madness-College Basketball” style tournament.  We’re also going back in time with the Awards Circuit Community Awards (or ACCA) and will begin voting on the films of 1998 where “Saving Private Ryan” lost to “Shakespeare in Love.”  Awards Profiles, our two month series where we assess the upcoming releases of 2014 and their Oscar potential, begins on Wednesday with Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher.”  We also have new series that will begin next Monday, that will fill the void of the Oscars and generate discussion during these off months.  Make sure you stay with us.

Discuss the winners in the comment section below.  Look for the Awards Circuit Power Hour episode later today!

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