Culture House Daily

Politics trumps artistry at the Oscars — full list of winners

3 March 2014

There were two possibilities for the 86th Academy Awards, joked host Ellen DeGeneres, either ‘12 Years a Slave wins the best picture Oscar … [or] you’re all racists.’ Luckily for the hall, things went the right way. Handwringing trumped artistic merit, 12 Years a Slave nabbing the top gong of best picture. The most cinematically thrilling movie, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, had to settle for the best director prize and several back-end awards.

As expected Cate Blanchett won best actress for her turn as a disintegrating society wife in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and Matthew McConaughey took best actor for his acclaimed depiction of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.

It was nice to see the short on the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer – who died last month at the age of 108 – The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, picking up the best short documentary prize. Paolo Sorrentino’s satire on Berlusconi-era Italy La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) won best foreign film – and Pier Silvio Berlusconi (Silvio’s son), whose production company Italian Medusa Film financed the movie,  was there to soak up the irony.

There were two upsets. Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (subject: Indonesian mass murder) lost out to 20 Feet from Stardom (subject: backing singers). And American Hustle, a film so closely associated with its impressive 70s hairdos that everyone calls it ‘The Hair Film’, didn’t win best hair. (Insanely, it wasn’t even nominated.)

American Hustle, PhilomenaCaptain PhillipsNebraska and Wolf of Wall Street – all films tipped for big prizes – went away empty handed.

By common consensus, the unofficial prize for best dress went to Lupita Nyong’o (who also won best supporting actress):

Lupita Nyong'o at the Oscars 2014. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Photo: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images



(Winners in bold)

Best Picture

12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner,Steve McQueen, and Anthony Kataga

American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon

Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca

Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter

Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman

Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, and Vincent Landay

Nebraska – Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa

Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, and Tracey Seaward

The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio,Joey McFarland, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff


Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity

David O. Russell – American Hustle

Alexander Payne – Nebraska

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street


Best Actor

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof

Christian Bale – American Hustle as Irving Rosenfeld

Bruce Dern – Nebraska as Woody Grant

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave as Solomon Northup


Best Actress

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine as Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis

Amy Adams – American Hustle as Sydney Prosser

Sandra Bullock – Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone

Judi Dench – Philomena as Philomena Lee

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County as Violet Weston


Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips as Abduwali Muse

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle as Agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave as Edwin Epps

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street as Donnie Azoff


Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave as Patsey

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine as Ginger

Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld

Julia Roberts – August: Osage County as Barbara Weston-Fordham

June Squibb – Nebraska as Kate Grant


Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Her – Spike Jonze

American Hustle – Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen

Dallas Buyers Club – Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack


Nebraska – Bob Nelson


Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave – John Ridley

Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke

Captain Phillips – Billy Ray

Philomena – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

The Wolf of Wall Street – Terence Winter


Best Animated Feature Film

Frozen – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Peter Del Vecho

The Croods – Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders, and Kristine Belson

Despicable Me 2 – Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, and Chris Meledandri

Ernest & Celestine – Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner

The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki


Best Foreign Language Film

The Great Beauty (Italy) in Italian – Paolo Sorrentino

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) in Dutch – Felix Van Groeningen

The Hunt (Denmark) in Danish – Thomas Vinterberg

The Missing Picture (Cambodia) in French – Rithy Panh

Omar (Palestine) in Arabic – Hany Abu-Assad


Best Documentary – Feature

20 Feet from Stardom – Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, and Caitrin Rogers

The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen

Cutie and the Boxer – Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher

Dirty Wars – Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill

The Square – Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer


Best Documentary – Short Subject

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life – Malcolm Clarkeand

Nicholas Reed

CaveDigger – Jeffrey Karoff

Facing Fear – Jason Cohen

Karama Has No Walls – Sara Ishaq

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall – Edgar Barens


Best Live Action Short Film

Helium – Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson

Aquél no era yo (That Wasn’t Me) – Esteban Crespo

Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) – Xavier Legrand and

Alexandre Gavras

Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) – Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari

The Voorman Problem – Mark Gill and Baldwin Li


Best Animated Short Film

Mr. Hublot – Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares

Feral – Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden

Get a Horse! – Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim

Possessions – Shuhei Morita

Room on the Broom – Max Lang and Jan Lachauer


Best Original Score

Gravity – Steven Price

The Book Thief – John Williams

Her – William Butler and Owen Pallett

Philomena – Alexandre Desplat

Saving Mr. Banks – Thomas Newman


Best Original Song

“Let It Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams

“The Moon Song” from Her – Karen Orzolek and Spike Jonze”Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – U2

“Alone, Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone – Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel (nomination revoked)


Best Sound Editing

Gravity – Glenn Freemantle

All Is Lost – Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns

Captain Phillips – Oliver Tarney

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Brent Burge and Chris Ward

Lone Survivor – Wylie Stateman


Best Sound Mixing

Gravity – Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, and Chris Munro

Captain Phillips – Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, and Chris Munro

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Christopher Boyes,Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, and Tony Johnson

Inside Llewyn Davis – Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, and Peter F. Kurland

Lone Survivor – Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, and David Brownlow


Best Production Design

The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration)

American Hustle – Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration)

Gravity – Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwinand Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration)

Her – K. K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration)

12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration)


Best Cinematography

Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki

The Grandmaster – Philippe Le Sourd

Inside Llewyn Davis – Bruno Delbonnel

Nebraska – Phedon Papamichael

Prisoners – Roger Deakins


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – Stephen Prouty

The Lone Ranger – Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny


Best Costume Design

The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin

American Hustle – Michael Wilkinson

The Grandmaster – William Chang Suk Ping

The Invisible Woman – Michael O’Connor

12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris


Best Film Editing

Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

American Hustle – Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten

Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse

Dallas Buyers Club – John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker


Best Visual Effects

Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, and Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and Eric Reynolds

Iron Man 3 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, and Dan Sudick

The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, and John Frazier

Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, and Burt Dalton

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  • Dean Jackson

    I’d like a sequel to 1966’s “Khartoum”, where we get to see the last major bastion of slavery on Earth in the Sudan being liberated by the British in 1898 under the command of Lord Kitchener.

    “Kitchener became Governor-General of the Sudan in September 1898 and began a programme of restoring good governance to the Sudan. The programme had a strong foundation, based on education at Gordon Memorial College as its centrepiece—and not simply for the children of the local elites: children from anywhere could apply to study. He ordered the mosques of Khartoum rebuilt, instituted reforms which recognised Friday — the Muslim holy day — as the official day of rest, and guaranteed freedom of religion to all citizens of the Sudan.” —,_1st_Earl_Kitchener#Survey_of_Western_Palestine

  • Ophthal

    12 Years a Slave: Was it really necessary to add the film?

  • R Prahl

    To his headline – Ah. The Obvious. The Academy (from my very cheap seats) is a self-reflecting human institution rich with vanity and money and isolated from any consequence of their actions. You would assume it to be a hotbed of politics, if you knew nothing else about it except that they distribute trinkets for intangible products once a year. I don’t particularly care about these prizes, but even I understand that everyone recognizes there are “great” actors and movies that did or didn’t get an Oscar because of politics. So that headline is useless. It become pernicious when combined with the first paragraph where it is taken for granted that a movie that touches on at least 200 years of human suffering cannot possibly be as artistically important as two mechanics fixing a broken machine in space. Instead of an interesting specific point that would remove the Oscar choice from the realm of the subjective he let’s the assumed pre-disposition of the reader (with a little help from a joke…) do the work for him. I keep forgetting how cheap innuendo is, until I see it in writing.

    And, oddly, the author’s favorite movie -the “cinematically thrilling” one – won Best Cinematography Oscar. Surely there’s thesaurus online that could have prevented such clumsy irony. As for that “back end Oscar” we will have to assume that Gravity had to play politics to get that Oscar as well. Or is politics over artistic merit only to be referenced for black people? Or is it slavery that makes it such a political hot potato? Even in my country we all agree slavery is, by and large, bad. But that stance alone gets few politicians elected.

    And for the record, I found Ellen’s joke hilarious. And yes, there is a kernel of coffee house liberalism truth to it. And it would have been a joke you couldn’t make it the movie weren’t as good as it was, nor would it have made any sense 70 years ago. People like the author (and his staunch readership from what I can tell in the comments) make me nervous about seeing humor in these things.

    Also for the record, I didn’t see Gravity, but I saw 12 Years a Slave. A fairly moving picture that I don’t want to see again but that was brilliantly acted (calm down commentators- by both the white and black actors) …and that has stayed with me. It should be mandatory viewing in US social studies courses, where they aren’t doing much of anything useful for those two hours anyway… (and just like the blues, it took a bunch of brit to make it palatable for the US). In short, it was better than Crash, or, say, Titanic. That doesn’t mean it should have gotten an Oscar. Or shouldn’t have. But I don’t think you have to crack your mind open too much to see that it could, in people’s artistic opinion, easily be better than the movie about George Clooney choosing to drift off into the infinite rather than spending time with a woman his own age. Thank you, Tina Fey.

  • GraveDave

    What I find odd is that finding themselves with this unusually articulate and very clever slave/Negro, no one questions his origins or how he learned to read. Then, having decided he’s a cut above and a rather special and valuable piece of ‘ property’, they commence to beat the skin off his back every chance they get.
    I mean you would really do that with your investment/s wouldnt you?
    Say what you will, this wasn’t a mere eye opener movie about slavery, it was about evil white people.

  • Michael Schachter

    Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. The Berlusconi story is wonderful though, the Italians have style.

    • Gwangi

      Yep, but that movie really did not deserve to win. The Great Beauty is an overlong and self-indulgent mess, full of silly dancing scenes.

  • Cosmo

    Perhaps we could have a film about the Barbary slave trade and the one million plus Europeans enslaved by…… North Africans – shock horror.

  • E Hart

    Igor, the last thing they want to do is put someone else’s beautifully crafted spanner in their own works.

    Toni Servillo was the Best Actor; Sorrentino, the Best Director; La Grande Bellezza the Best Film and any prizes for the best screenplay, score, cinematography and tailoring ought to have gone in the same direction. As for the The Best Documentary, look no further than the gruesomely compelling, The Act of Killing.

    In a McFlurry of excitement – the McAcademy does what it always does – it supports the sale and distribution of its own products to the widest possible audience. The Oscars is akin to framing the Two Dogs painting in Goodfellas in exquisitely gilded stucco.

    Most of the films that have hit the heights will be taking up shelf-space with the “57 Different Varieties” of pulp drivel down at the local charity shop inside six months. La Grande Bellezza, on the other hand, will endure.

  • Raw England

    Repulsive to see Black Power winning even more influence.

    • dalai guevara

      Hahaha, coke head – off the charlie leads to depression, dunnit?

      • GraveDave

        It was DEFINITELY a politically correct/white guilt decision to award this rather turgid film so many accolades – let alone best film award.

    • StephanieJCW

      You are crazed.

      • GraveDave

        He’s got thirteen ‘crazed’ recommends too.

        • Geronimo von Huxley

          Man, what is wrong with you man???? What did you like man??? Mechanics Lost in Space man are you for real man after Mission to Mars you still fall for this nonsense man???

          • GraveDave

            I liked Wolf of Wall Street myself. I thought Gravity what with its bag all based on its special affects and the 3D THING – boring. As for Dallas Buyers Club well acted but a film about AIDS in 70s America/Texas -depressing.


      you need a white hot stanley run down your face

      • Raw England

        I need a White Hot Stanley knife running over my face, do I?

  • Ironside

    Hollywood’s version of paying reparations. This was so predictable.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      It’s to make up for not getting one for The Great Escape.

      • mikal

        yes ..I am agree.

  • Baron

    No film this year about the life of gays then?

  • Matthew S. Dent

    “Politics trumps artistry at the Oscars”

    In other words you don’t agree with the winning films?

  • David Prentice

    Have the Oscars ever been more meaningless?

  • rtj1211

    The Oscars’ decision-making process has about as much credibility as the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Why do you think that anyone cares anymore??