(Photo : Warner Bros )
The Academy Awards race was said to be one of the closet years with "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" as the front-runners. However, even though "Gravity" swept all the technical categories and even won Best Director, it lost the top prize to Steve McQueen's film.
The big loss may have been a big surprise to casual TV audiences but for pundits "Gravity" had many holes and missed a number of important elements. The first important nomination it missed was at the Screen Actors Guild awards. It was not nominated for Best Ensemble, which is arguably a make-or-break award. Every film that has won a Best Picture award ever since the creation of the SAG award, has been nominated for Best Ensemble.
The second indication that "Gravity" could lose was the fact that the movie was shut out of the Best Original Screenplay award. Every Best Picture winner either takes home a screenplay award or gets nominated for one. The last Best Picture winner to lose a screenplay award was "The Artist." However, that film was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category.
"Gravity" did set a number of records as it became the fifth special effect-driven film in a row to win both the cinematography and visual effects category. The previous winners were "Avatar," "Inception," "Hugo" and "Life of Pi." It was also the second year in a row that the Academy Awards split the Best Director and Best Picture award.
In 2013 "Argo" won Best Picture while Ang Lee won for "Life of Pi."
"Gravity" also became one of the few films to win seven Oscars but not Best Picture and was also victorious in every technical award.
As for "12 Years a Slave," the film ultimately did not surprise as it has managed to win the top prize in precursors with minimal other victories in other categories. It only won two BAFTA awards, one Golden Globe, and three Critics' Choice awards and only one guild award. However, it won the Best Picture award at every single one of these ceremonies.
As a result, a loss did not seem possible.
Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" also set a couple of records as it was the first Best Picture win for a Black producer and Lupita Nyong'o won the 14th acting accolade for a black actor. Meanwhile, John Ridley became the second black writer to win an Oscar in the writing category. In 2010 Geoffrey Fletcher won the Best Adapted Screenplay award his work on "Precious."
The film also became the second Best Picture in a row to win three statues. Seven years prior to "12 Years a Slave's" win "Crash" won with three.
Fox Searchlight who distributed the film also won its first Oscar since 2009 when "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars including Best Picture.
Overall the Academy did not really have many surprises other than the fact that David O. Russell's comedy "American Hustle" joined "Gangs of New York" and "True Grit" as films that received 10 nominations and got completely shut out. Other Best Pictures that were shut out include "Nebraska," "Captain Phillips," "Philomena" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."