"Gravity" is in orbit at the Oscars, winning five trophies so far and dominating the technical categories.
So far, the Alfonso Cuaron film has won for film editing for Cuaron and Mark Sanger and for cinematography for d.p. Emmanuel Lubezki.
Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro won the sound mixing award for "Gravity, " while the film also won the sound editing category for Glenn Freemantle. The visual effects award went to the "Gravity" team of Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould. Corbould's first win was for "Gladiator."
The 86th Oscars kicked off with a supporting actor win for Jared Leto for his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club." The film saw another win for hair and makeup,
With her performance as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," Lupita Nyong'o landed the supporting actress prize, joining 15 individuals who previously won Oscars for their film debuts. She also joins the 65 who'd been awarded for playing real people. The Kenya-Mexican actress, who's a Yale grad, joins 14 other black actors who've won Oscars, with the numbers increasing regularly -- an encouraging sign for Academy execs who have been working hard to make sure the organization, the industry and the Oscars better reflect the world's diversity.
Foreign film winner "The Great Beauty" (directed by Paolo Sorrentino) marks the 11th win and 28th nomination for Italy. There were no clear front-runners this year (as with "A Separation" and "Amour" in the past two years) but this film was considered a strong possibility. The pic concerns a 65-year-old journalist taking stock of his life.
Director Morgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers and the late Gil Friesen were trophied for the docu feature "20 Feet From Stardom," a bittersweet look at backup and session singers. The film, directed by Neville and produced by Rogers and Friesen (who died in December 2012) is distributed in the U.S. by Radius-Weinstein Co.
"The Great Beauty" and "20 Feet From Stardom" were the first winners in those categories under the Academy's revised voting system. Previously, a member had to show proof of having seen all five contenders before voting in that category. The Academy wanted to broaden the voting base, working on the honor system that the entire voting membership could vote, theoretically meaning the decision was made by thousands instead of hundreds. Purists were concerned that the winner would be the most popular. But the Academy mailed screeners of all the contenders to voters, to level the playing field. Certainly "20 Feet From Stardom" and "The Great Beauty" were the most popular with the public, easily outgrossing competitors with respective $4.8 million and $11.6 million.
"Frozen" won for best animated film, with Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho accepting. Buck dedicated the award to his son who died in an accident before the movie came out, calling him a "guardian angel."
"Frozen" marks the first win for Disney Animation in the 13-year-old feature-animation category. The film was directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (she also scripted). It also marks the second time that a film co-directed by a woman won this prize, after last year's "Brave."
Leto had won nearly every award in the build-up to Oscars, including SAG, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and numerous critics groups. Going into the Oscars, Leto seemed like one of the few sure bets, for his performance as a transgender AIDS patient Rayon as the actor avoided the easy stereotypes and created a character who was unique and indelible. The film marked a mini-comeback for Leto, who had given up acting for seven years to concentrate on his work with his (successful) band, 30 Seconds From Mars.
The hair and makeup winners were Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews for "Dallas Buyer's Club," who created the transvestite look for Leto's character on a shoestring $250 budget.
Catherine Martin was a two-time winner for "The Great Gatsby," for both Production Design (with Beverley Dunn on Set Decoration) and for Costume Design. Martin thanked her husband, the pic's director Baz Luhrmann, "He makes it all possible."
Documentary short went to "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life," whose subject just died. "Mr. Hublot" won for best animated short while "Helium" won for live action short.
The awards were handed out Sunday at the Dolby Theatre. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the show, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, their second consecutive year in that role.
Related storiesABC's Live Oscar Internet Stream Suffers Nationwide OutageOscars: Hollywood Teams Up on the Red CarpetEllen's Oscar Selfie Breaks Twitter Record 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLCCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun