Golden night at Oscars for '12 Years a Slave,' McConaughey and Blanchett

Unflinching slavery drama "12 Years a Slave" took home the Oscar for best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards, and its star Lupita Nyong'o added to the film's trophy case by claiming the best supporting actress award.

IMAGE: McConaughey, Blanchett, Nyong'o, Leto Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Best actor winner Matthew McConaughey, best actress winner Cate Blanchett, best supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong'o and best supporting actor winner Jared Leto pose with their Oscars.

"Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live," director Steve McQueen said when accepting the award. "I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery and the 21 million that still suffer slavery today." 

London-born McQueen is the first black director to take home a best-picture award.

In a teary, heartfelt speech, Nyong'o saluted her enslaved character, Patsey, and Solomon Northup, the free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, and wrote the memoir upon which the film is based. The film also won the best adapted screenplay award.

Fans of Matthew McConaughey are feeling "alright, alright" after the actor proved the road to "McConaissance" is indeed paved in Oscar gold when he won the best lead actor award for "Dallas Buyers Club," in which he plays Texan Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved drugs into the United States to fight AIDS.

McConaughey, who was at one time known for his turn in rom-coms, showed off some of his charm when he gave a nod to his late father, telling the audience he envisioned him dancing around in heaven with a pot of gumbo, a lemon-meringue pie, and a cold can of Miller Lite. Naturally, he closed out his speech and a stellar awards season with his iconic line from 1993’s “Dazed and Confused,” shouting “alright alright alright."

IMAGE: Matthew McConaughey LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters
Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club."

McConaughey's “Dallas Buyers Club” co-star Jared Leto won the best supporting actor award for playing transgender Texan Rayon.

"This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS," Leto said in his acceptance speech. "To those of you who have felt injustice because of who you love and who you are, I stand here with you and for you." 

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    Image: Leto, best supporting actor winner for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club", speaks on stage at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood

    2014 Academy Awards

    Hollywood’s brightest stars gather to celebrate the biggest achievements in film.

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    Brad Pitt accepts the Oscar for best picture for "12 Years a Slave" at the 86th annual Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., on March 2. Pitt produced the movie, and also had a role. Behind him, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, Chiwetel Ejiofor, producers Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas celebrate the win.

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    Matthew McConaughey accepts the Oscar for best actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club." He ended his speech with his classic line, "All right, all right, all right!"

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    "The Wolf of Wall Street" star Leonardo DiCaprio, left, congratulates Matthew McConaughey for his best actor win.

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    Jennifer Lawrence presents the award for best actor.

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    Cate Blanchett thanks director Woody Allen for casting her in "Blue Jasmine," a role that earned her the best actress trophy.

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    Daniel Day-Lewis presents the award for best actress.

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    Alfonso Cuaron accepts the Oscar for best director for "Gravity." The director called star Sandra Bullock "the soul, heart of the film" in his speech.

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    Angelina Jolie, left, and Sidney Poitier present the award for best director.

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    Spike Jonze wins the award for the best original screenplay for "Her."

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    Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro present the awards for adapted and original screenplays.

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    Idina Menzel performs "Let It Go" from "Frozen." The tune won for best original song.

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    Bette Midler performs "Wind Beneath My Wings."

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    Pink performs "Over the Rainbow" in a tribute to "The Wizard of Oz" at the 86th Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, on March 2.

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    Amy Adams and Bill Murray present the award for cinematography, which went to "Gravity."

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    What a host! Ellen DeGeneres made sure celebrities didn't go hungry, ordering three pizzas that she then helped the delivery guy distribute.

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    "12 Years a Slave" star Lupita Nyong'o wins the award for best supporting actress. "No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid," she said her acceptance speech.

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    Ellen DeGeneres, center, gathered many A-list celebrities -- including, from left, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey and Brad Pitt -- for a selfie taken by Bradley Cooper. The photo, which was shared on Twitter, was so popular it brought down the social media site briefly.

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    Irish rock band U2 perform "Ordinary Love" from the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."

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    Bradle Cooper walks on stage to present the documentary feature award, which went to "20 Feet From Stardom."

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    Karen O, left, and Ezra Koenig perform "The Moon Song" from the film "Her."

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    Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emma Watson present the award best visual effects, which went to "Gravity."

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    Host Ellen DeGeneres, right, gives Bradley Cooper a lottery ticket, and jokes that she needs the coin back.

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    Sally Field is a presenter at the Academy Awards.

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    Presenters Naomi Watts, left, and Samuel L. Jackson congratulate Catherine Martin on her win for best costume design for "The Great Gatsby."

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    Jared Leto, who won supporting actor for his work in "Dallas Buyers Club," dedicated his award to "the 36 million people how have lost the battle to AIDS."

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    Lupita Nyong'o, left, dances as Meryl Streep boogies with Pharrell Williams during his performance of "Happy."

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    Jim Carrey presents at the Oscars.

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    Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Academy Awards for a second time on Sunday.

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But it wasn't all serious talk for Leto, who also mentioned the conflict in Ukraine during his speech. Before even winning his award, host Ellen DeGeneres joked that he was the "most beautiful" person at the ceremony (with his enviable ombre highlights and crisp tux, can you deny it?). And after he won, backstage observers reported that he was passing his Oscar around and allowing others to be photographed with it — until Academy officials requested he stop.

As expected, Cate Blanchett took home the best lead actress Oscar for her role in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Although Allen made headlines lately regarding molestation allegations involving his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, Blanchett acknowledged him in her acceptance speech, saying, "Thank you so much Woody for casting me, I appreciate it."

It was Blanchett's second Oscar, coming a decade after her 2004 best supporting award for "The Aviator."

On a fairly predictable night, DeGeneres lightened things up with some surprises — taking a celebrity-studded selfie, having pizza delivered to the audience, and suddenly appearing in full pink pouf as "Oz's" Glinda the Good Witch.

That's not to say the broadcast was completely safe. Degeneres did get some jabs in: She praised 84-year-old nominee June Squibb, and then raised her voice and spoke slowly and loudly to the actress as if speaking to a hard-of-hearing elderly person, saying, "I'm telling everyone that you were wonderful in 'Nebraska.'" The audience, and more importantly Squibb, all got a good laugh. 

Her sharpest dig of the night was a tweak of Oscar-winner Liza Minnelli, there to honor her mother Judy Garland's movie "The Wizard of Oz." As the camera cut to Minnelli, DeGeneres praised "one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators I have ever seen in my life. ... Good job, sir."

The night was exceptionally starry for space drama "Gravity," which claimed numerous technical awards and the best director statuette for Alfonso Cuaron, the first Latino to win in that category.

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    Image: Amy Adams

    2014 Academy Awards red carpet

    From dazzling gowns to sophisticated tuxedos, see which styles dominated the red carpet at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

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    From dazzling gowns to sophisticated tuxedos, see which styles dominated the red carpet at the 86th annual Academy Awards on Mar. 2, 2014:

    Lupita Nyong'o

    Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in "12 Years a Slave" Lupita Nyong'o in Prada

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    Matthew McConaughey in Dolce & Gabbana and Camila Alves in a pink gown

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    Actor Bill Murray

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    Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell in Roberto Cavalli

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    Singer Liza Minelli in a cobalt blue paintsuit

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    Singer Lady Gaga in Versace

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    Musicians Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono, and Larry Mullen Jr. of U2

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    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab

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    "August: Osage County" star Meryl Streep

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    "Gravity" nominee Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen

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    Kate Hudson in Versace

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    Actress Jenna Dewan in Reem Acra

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    Actress Penelope Cruz

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    "Dallas Buyers Club" actress Jennifer Garner

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    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

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    Model Elsa Pataky and actor Chris Hemsworth

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    Jennifer Lawrence in Dior

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    "The Wolf of Wall Street" star Leonardo DiCaprio

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    Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett in Armani

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    Actress Charlize Theron in Dior

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    Actress Anne Hathaway in Gucci

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    "August: Osage County" actress Julia Roberts in Givenchy

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    Actor Benedict Cumberbatch

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    Actress Kerry Washington in Jason Wu

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    Musician Pharrell Williams and wife Helen Lasichanh

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    "American Hustle" actress Amy Adams in Gucci

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    Kevin Spacey in a navy tux

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    Presenter Viola Davis wears an Escada gown

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    Actress Glenn Close in a sleek black look

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    "Before Midnight" actress Julie Delpy in Jenny Packham

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    "Nebraska" star June Squibb in Tadashi Shoji

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    Actress Jessica Biel in Chanel

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    Actress Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein

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    Actress Anna Kendrick

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    "Dallas Buyers Club" star Jared Leto

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    Actress Laura Dern, "Nebraska" actor Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett

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    "Her" star Olivia Wilde, in Valentino, and Jason Sudeikis

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    "12 Years a Slave" star Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sari Mercer

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    "Captain Phillips" actor Barkhad Abdi

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    TODAY's fashion critics, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir

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    Actress Portia de Rossi in Naeem Khan

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    E! host Kelly Osbourne

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Cuaron thanked star Sandra Bullock, saying "Sandy, you're 'Gravity.' You're the soul, heart of the film. ... One of the best people I've ever met."

"Gravity's" awards included best film editing, cinematography, sound editing, best score, sound mixing and visual effects.

Disney blockbuster "Frozen" claimed the best animated feature film Oscar, and its hit song, "Let It Go," won for best original song. "Happy Oscars to you, let's do 'Frozen 2,' sang husband-and-wife winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The song was performed live, in a much-awaited performance, by Broadway star Idina Menzel, who voices and sings the role of Queen Elsa in the movie. Menzel took the stage after actor John Travolta mangled her name, sparking plenty of jokes on social media.

Other winners were:

  • Spike Jonze won the award for best original screenplay for "Her."
  • "Mr. Hublot" won for best animated short. 
  • "Helium" for best live-action short film.
  • "The Lady in Number 6," about Alice Herz Sommer, a Holocaust survivor and concert pianist who died Feb. 23 aged 110, won for best documentary short subject. 
  • "20 Feet from Stardom," which focuses on the backup singers behind musical legends, won for best documentary feature. 
  • Italy's "The Great Beauty" won for best foreign-language film.
  • Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews of “Dallas Buyers Club” won the award for makeup and hairstyling. 
  • Catherine Martin won the costume design Oscar for "The Great Gatsby," an award also won by the 1974 film version of "Gatsby."
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