All afternoon and evening the slew of awards lined up on Gravity’s mantle pointed to only one thing. After taking a total of seven trophies at the 86th Academy Awards, when the top rung Best Picture award rolled round, the signs all pointed to a clear winner.
But no – the Academy’s judges voted with their hearts by awarding 12 Years a Slave the 2014 Best Picture gong. Gravity’s groundbreaking technical achievements may have seen it take everything from Best Sound Editing to the coveted Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, but at the final hurdle it was the power of storytelling, tempered with moral indignation, which saw 12 Years a Slave win the big one.
Earlier in the evening British director Steve McQueen’s gripping slave drama also earned a Best Supporting Actress award for Lupita Nyong'o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley.
With Gravity and 12 Years taking a ten awards between them, there was one very notable exception: Walking into the awards with ten nominations, David O Russell’s crime-comedy American Hustle left the awards entirely empty handed.
This year’s other big crime comedy – Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, with five nominations to Hustle’s ten – also failed to win anything.
Much else was as predicted. Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett picked up Best Actor and Best Actress, for Dallas Buyers Club and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine respectfully, while McConaughy’s co-star Jared Leto surprised with a win for Best Supporting Actor.
Spike Jonze picked up Best Original Screenplay for Her, while Baz Luhrmann’s shallow but immersive adaption of The Great Gatsby was awarded for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.
Middle Eastern hope The Square, a documentary chronicling the uprisings in Egypt, lost out on Best Documentary to The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Meanwhile Frozen beat fans’ favourite Despicable Me 2 to be named Best Animation.
Click here to see all the winners.