86th Academy Awards Made History

Oscar Selfie

The following is a partial list of last night’s 86th Academy Awards winners. I’ve included Production Budget from Box Office Mojo, just for comparison:

Gravity: 7 Wins

Best Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Music (Original Score).

Production Budget: $100 Million

12 Years A Slave: 3 Wins

Best Picture, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay

Production Budget: $20 Million

Dallas Buyers Club: 3 Wins

Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Make-up and Hairstyling

Production Budget: $5 Million

The Great Gatsby: 2 Wins

Best Costume Design, Production Design

Production Budget: $105 Million

Blue Jasmine: 1 Win

Best Actress

Production Budget: N/A

Her: 1 Win

Best Original Screenplay

Production Budget: $23 Million

12 Years A Slave Poster copy

The Oscars last night made history in two categories… and I don’t mean Ellen Degeneres’ star-studded group selfie setting retweeting record. First, there was Gravity’s director Alfonso Cuarón as the first Latin American to win the Best Directing Oscar. Gravity seemed to be the major winner last night with seven Oscars. Basically the 3D, sic-fi movie had snatched all technical wins, as predicted by many.

But in every Academy Awards, the top prize is Best Picture, here we see 12 Years A Slave make history with Steve McQueen becoming the first black director to garner the Best Picture Oscar honour. Lupita Lyong’o also came out victorious as this is her first feature film. I’m happy to see too that John Ridley win the Best Adapted Screenplay, the second black winner to fetch a writing Oscar, after Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious in 2009. Ridley has turned Solomon Northup’s poignant memoir into a script for an impressive visual testament. Because of the film, this eye-witness narrative of Solomon Northup hopefully will find its way into school curricula soon. This is the power of cinema in transforming society.

Cate Blanchet‘s win for her role in Blue Jasmine gives her a chance to counter a misconception: “… and perhaps, those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the centre, are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money.”

Hopefully after all the ‘history’ being made, one day we won’t have to identify the colour, ethnicity, or gender of winners in saying so-and-so is the first black, or hispanic, or woman to win this or do that.


The reason I’ve included the Production Budget in the above list is that I remember the ‘implosion’ of the movie industry‘ Steven Spielberg had predicted a year ago as he cited productions getting more and more costly, aiming at mega, iron-man effects to please the general public. While Gravity might fit that category with its 3D, high-tech, CGI-driven grandiosity and out-of-this-world spectacle, there are also worthy, smaller productions that cost only a fraction of a colossal budget, but still can move audiences and touch the human heart.


Related Posts on Ripple Effects:

History Made At The Oscars: Kathryn Bigelow Wins Best Director

Our Mega Culture

12 Years A Slave: Beauty and Sadness (Movie Review)

Narrative of Solomon Northup: A Voice that Must Be Heard (Book Review)

Nebraska: Color is Superfluous (Movie Review)

The Great Gatsby Movie Review

Blue Jasmine: Homage & Re-imagining


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

19 thoughts on “86th Academy Awards Made History”

  1. I was pleased with how the awards were distributed. This is the time of year when the Academy generally rewards the more sophisticated film fare. But the reality is, it’s the popcorn movies that kids attend that make the big bucks for the industry. J-Law is #1 at the box office thanks to the Hunger Games franchise. But I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already wrapped your brain around.


    1. LA,

      I hope Spielberg’s ‘implosion prediction’ can be averted. Movies don’t have to be big budget, high tech and mega spectacular to have a powerful punch. Cate Blanchett had said it well, half of the human race is movie materials right there, and, they earn money too. 😉


    1. Alison,

      I think your part of the world is much quieter and serene than ours over here this past weekend. No matter, we’ve enjoyed an exciting Oscar night from watching the live broadcast. I’m glad 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture. Do you know it has a British director and main actor? But as its director Steve McQueen had said, slavery is a global problem. I read today that Solomon Northup’s memoir will be incorporated into the U.S. school curriculum. Glad to see cinema can play an active role in social reform.


  2. I loved watching them live here – from around 12.30pm to 4pm. Wasted a beautiful autumn day but it was worth it. Don’t know about you but I thought Ellen was wonderful. Funny, but warm. And I think the prizes were well spread (despite of course Gravity winning all those technical ones). Agree about 12 years a slave winning, and am glad Her got the script one. And wasn’t our Cate wonderful! Love her political comment.


    1. Oh, that’s not to say that I don’t think Gravity wasn’t worthy of the technical ones! Just to say they weren’t as well spread!

      I saw 8 of the 9 nominated best features. Didn’t manage to get to The wolf of Wall Street. Something about the trailers put me off PLUS the length!

      Hoping to see Great Beauty this week if the show times suit.


      1. WG,

        I knew Gravity deserved the technical wins, but for me, its snatching the Oscar in cinematography just brings to the forefront an issue of the very term. Would scenes and sequences created by CGI and visual effects be considered cinematography? As digital filmmaking becomes more and more prominent, replacing the traditional methods, and with ‘created’ scenes rather than real-life captures, I think it’s time we redefine this category, or even the need to reinvent new criteria for aesthetics on the large screen.

        As for The Great Beauty, I just came back from it. It’s not just a movie, It’s an experience. But I have a little hint for you: Unless you know Italian, or else, sharpen your speed reading skill so you can capture all the subtitles and still have time to look at the main screen. Talking about cinematography in the above, here’s what I thought the term means.


        1. Thanks Arti – we are going to see it tomorrow. I have heard that it’s a film best seen twice. Sounds like that’s part of the reason why.

          Yes, I was talking generally about the technical awards. I was listening to Australian cinematographers – John Seale (Oscar winner for the English patient) and another – talk about the nominations the day before. One of them, as I recollect thought Gravity could win but I must say I felt uncomfortable about it. One of them, again I can’t recollect which one, though Nebraska should win. A fair point too I think as the cinematography really underscored that film.

          (The sound people, were very interesting though about the sound on/in Gravity).


  3. Arti,

    i can’t recall an Oscars that produced such fair and deserving results. Can’t disagree with any of the major awards. At first I thought the graphic tortures might turn voters away from 12 Years A Slave (rumors have it that many voters didn’t even see the movie because of those scenes), but justice prevailed. So happy to see movies with substance and technical brilliance such as 12 Years, Her, Dallas Buyers Club s and of course Gravity win over movies that were loud and over the top such as American Hustles and Wolf of Wall Street.


    1. Bob,

      Yes, I think Academy voters are fair and spot on in many categories. I’m glad Her got the Best Original Screenplay. Seeing it the second time made me appreciate the originality of the script even more. And The Great Gatsby deserve its win in costumes and production design. For me, 12 Years A Slave winning Best Picture is the most gratifying. As for Gravity, I knew technical categories would be a sweep, but, personally I’d wished cinematography and music would fall into the hands of some equally deserving films. Your last sentence brought an agreeing smile to my face. 😉


  4. Arti,

    It was one of the most enjoyable and gratifying Oscar Award shows in recent years. I am happy that 12 years a slave won best picture even though the best director honor went to Alfonso Cuaron. I almost did not go see The Dallas Buyers Club because I am not a Matthew McConaughey fan, but glad I did. It is a story that should be told, and Matthew McConaughey did a good job in telling it. BTW, I appreciate your lists of the production budgets, and I totally agree with your comments. While I marvel at the $100 million it took to produce Gravity, it is the film Nebraska, which undoubtedly cost a fraction of that amount that really moves me and touches my heart.


    1. Yinling,

      Dallas Buyers Club was made on a shoestring budget of $5 million. I read somewhere that there was only $250 for costumes. Nebraska not much more with $12 m. As for Blue Jasmine, although we don’t know since it’s N/A, Cate Blanchett had said that the borrowed Birkin bag she was carrying was worth more than the costume designer’s entire budget. She’d noted Woody Allen had worked on a shoestring too. Here’s the article. Even our Best Picture was made with a relatively low budget, and we can see the ripple effects it generates can be immeasurable.


  5. Good point – it will be great when we won’t need to get excited about the diversity of the winners. But it was great to see. I had never thought about the production budgets, interesting.


    1. Letizia,

      As a Canadian, I’m always bothered by the term ‘visible minority’ used in our country, and the term ‘colored’ in the U.S. I look forward to one day, we won’t be needing categories like these. But of course, I’m happy for all the winners, especially for Steve McQueen. His win means a lot.


  6. Though I haven’t seen many of these, from all I’ve heard it seems as though there were few surprises and they were “good” picks. I missed the awards but look forward to watching on DVD this weekend!


    1. Jeanie,

      I’m one ‘traditionalist’ who thinks movies made for the big screen should be seen on the big screen, at least the first time. Hope you’ll have time to watch these Oscar noms and of course, the winner, 12 Years A Slave.


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