Oscars: Inside the Academy Awards Ceremony

Ellen Degeneres
Ellen Degeneres
 AP Images/Invision

The 86th Academy Awards crowned 12 Years a Slave best picture.

"It has been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon's story," said Brad Pitt, who produced the film based on Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir.

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

COMPLETE LIST: 2014 Oscar Winners

Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron was honored with best director. The film also took achievement in visual effects, cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, original score and film editing, for a total of seven wins -- the most of the night.

Cate Blanchett won best actress for Blue Jasmine, thanking her writer-director Woody Allen in her speech and saying no one in the film industry should think female-centered films are "niche experiences."

"Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money," she said.

Matthew McConaughey won best actor for Dallas Buyers Club, while his costar Jared Leto took home the first Oscar of the night, best supporting actor for Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked his mother and brother and dedicated the win to those who had lost their battle with AIDS. He also addressed the Ukrainian conflict, calling its residents "dreamers."

LIVE BLOG: Inside Oscars 2014

Lupita Nyong'o won best supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave, telling the audience, "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid." Her 12 Years screenwriter John Ridley took home the best adapted screenplay honor.

Host Ellen DeGeneres joked about the nominees in her opening monologue, extensively talking about Jennifer Lawrence's high-profile trip at last year's ceremony: "If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar." She also spoke of the exciting possibilities for the night: "Possibility one, 12 Years a Slave wins best picture. Possibility two, you're all racist."  Later, the host took an epic selfie with A-list  audience members, including Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt

Disney hit Frozen topped Despicable Me 2 in the best animated feature film category, and the film's "Let it Go" took home best original song. But Despicable Me 2 soundtrack contributor Pharrell Williams (wearing his now famous hat), brought several nominees to their feet during his performance of "Happy" from the film. He danced with Lupita Nyong'o and Meryl Streep during his performance.

PHOTOS: Oscars 2014 Red-Carpet Arrivals

Netflix scored its first Oscar ever for Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, winner of best documentary short. Singer and actress Darlene Love received a standing ovation after singing during the acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom's best documentary feature win. Italy's The Great Beauty won best foreign language film.

American Hustle, which went into the ceremony tied with Gravity for receiving 10 nominations, went away empty-handed -- as did The Wolf of Wall Street.

See the complete list of Oscar winners here and follow The Hollywood Reporter's live blog for all the action from the ceremony and backstage.

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