Director and producer Ben Affleck accepts the award for best motion picture for 'Argo' as actors Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston look on at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. Photo by Reuters.
Iran hostage thriller "Argo" has won the Best Picture
Oscar, the highest honour in the movie industry, while Ang
Lee was a surprise choice for Best Director for "Life of Pi."
"There are eight great films that have as much right to be up
here as we do," said "Argo" producer and director Ben
The not-so-unexpected win for "Argo" was announced in one of
the biggest surprises in the history of Oscar telecasts as
first lady Michelle Obama made an unprecedented appearance
from the White House to declare the film the top winner of
It was the first time since "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1990 that
a film won the top prize at the Oscars without its director
also being nominated.
Daniel Day-Lewis made Oscar history and won a long standing
ovation on becoming the first man to win three Best Actor
Oscars. He collected the golden statuette for his intense
performance as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln."
"I really don't know how any of this happened," said
Day-Lewis, who has dual Anglo-Irish citizenship.
Jennifer Lawrence was named Best Actress for playing a feisty
young widow in comedy "Silver Linings Playbook", tripping up
on her dress while approaching the stage. She beat Jessica
Chastain and France's Emmanuelle Riva, 86, in one of the
closest Oscar contests this year.
Taiwanese director Lee beat front-runner Steven Spielberg in
the directing race, in a controversial year that saw four of
Hollywood's leading names omitted from the Academy Award
Spielberg's account of President Lincoln's battle to abolish
slavery and end the U.S. civil war went into the three-hour
plus ceremony with a leading 12 nominations. But it ended up
winning just two.
"Argo" also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay
for its gripping and often comedic tale of the CIA mission to
rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran shortly after the
In other contests, Anne Hathaway won her first Oscar and
harrowing Austrian film "Amour" was voted Best Foreign
Hathaway, who starved herself and chopped off her long brown
locks to play tragic heroine Fantine in "Les Miserables," was
considered the overwhelming favorite for supporting role in
the screen version of the popular stage musical.
"It came true," she said, looking at the golden statuette.
"Here's hoping that some day in the not too distant future
the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and
not in real life," Hathaway added.
"Amour," the heart-wrenching tale of an elderly couple coping
with the wife's debilitating stroke, gave Austria the Best
Foreign Language film after it had dominated awards shows in
Europe and the United States for months.
Another Austrian, Christoph Waltz, was the surprise winner of
the closest contest going into the ceremony. He took Best
Supporting Actor honors for his turn as an eccentric dentist
turned bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's slavery revenge
fantasy "Django Unchained."
It was Waltz's second Oscar, after winning for the Tarantino
movie "Inglourious Basterds" in 2010.
A jubilant Tarantino also won the Oscar for Best Original
Screenplay, and credited the actors who brought the
characters in all his films to life.
"And boy this time, did I do it!," he said.
"Brave," the Pixar movie about a feisty Scottish princess,
took home the golden statuette for Best Animated Feature.
The Oscar winners were chosen in secret ballots by some 5800
members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.