HAVING HER MOMENT: Blanchett celebrating her win with Sony Pictures' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard at the Governor's Ball at the Hollywood & Highland Centre.
The outer-space spectacle Gravity may have snagged the lion's share of trophies (a total of seven out of 10 nominations) at Sunday's 86th Academy Awards, but in the end the night belonged to the darling of the season, Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, which added to its impressive stash the grand prix of Best Picture of the Year (presented by Will Smith) to bring the curtains down on another thrilling year in cinema.
But in addition to Best Picture, Slave also secured Best Adapted Screenplay (for writer John Ridley) and, unsurprisingly, supporting-actress honours for Lupita Nyong'o, who joins that rarefied pantheon of actors winning an Oscar for their debut film performance. Resplendent in an aquamarine gown, Nyong'o (a 29-year-old Yale School of Drama graduate who is of Kenyan and Mexican descent) deservedly drew a standing ovation as she made her way to the stage.
Gravity's prize haul, meanwhile, included wins for director Alfonso Cuaron, film editing, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, cinematography and original score. And as far as the other acting categories are concerned, all the favourites obliged, as Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett (lead actress), Matthew McConaughey (lead actor) and his Dallas Buyers Club costar Jared Leto (supporting actor) all took home little gold men and gave truly heartfelt acceptance speeches.
I was also particularly delighted by the choice of awardees in several auxiliary categories, namely Catherine Martin's win for costume design (The Great Gatsby), Frozen for animated feature and original song ("Let It Go") and the much-buzzed-about behind-the-scenes film 20 Feet From Stardom (about the real unsung heroes of the music industry: background singers) picking up the award for documentary feature.