Historical drama “12 Years a Slave” has won best picture at the 86th Academy Awards, while space drama “Gravity” won the lion's share of awards.
Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latino to win the best director award for “Gravity”, adding to the film's six Oscars for technical achievement.
Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her portrayal of the heroine in Woody Allen's “Blue Jasmine”, while Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club”.
It is the second consecutive year the best director and best picture prize have been awarded to different films.
Cuaron praised the “transformative” power of film and singled out the film's star Sandra Bullock as “the soul, the heart of Gravity.”
The film - which took five years to complete -- also won Oscars for film editing, sound mixing, sound editing, cinematography, visual effects and original score.
Steve McQueen, the director of “12 Years a Slave”, dedicated the best picture Oscar to “all those people who have endured slavery.”
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” he said. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”
Based on a true story, the film follows the life of a free black man - Northup - who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o won the best supporting actress award for her film debut as slave worker Patsey in it, and also picked up an Independent Spirit Award.
The Kenyan actress paid tribute to her character and thanked her for her “guidance”. The film won a third Oscar for John Ridley's adapted screenplay.
Spike Jonze collected the best original screenplay for “Her”. Jonze's first film as sole writer and director stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with a computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
As predicted, McConaughey took the best actor prize for his role as real life rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof, who smuggled HIV drugs into the US.
The 44-year-old actor, formerly a rom-com regular whose roles centred on his good looks, lost 23kg to play Woodroof in the low budget indie drama.
McConaughey beat tough competition from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Chiwitel Ejiofor.
McConaughey's co-star Jared Leto won the first Oscar of the night, picking up best supporting actor for his role as transgender woman who becomes Woodruff's business partner and unlikely friend.
In an emotional speech, Leto dedicated his award to “those who have ever felt injustice because of who they are, or who you love.”
“This is for the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to Aids,” said the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman, whose last film was six years ago.
“Dallas Buyers Club” also picked up a third award for make up and hairstyling - with the transformation of Leto and his co-star, Matthew McConaughey, rumoured to have been achieved on a budget of $250.
Best actress winner Cate Blanchett paid tribute to her rivals, including Dame Judi Dench - acknowledging “the random and subjective” nature of awards ceremonies.
“Frozen”, which recently tipped $1bn at the global box office, scored two Oscars. The 3D film about an icy princess and her sister was named best animated feature film, with its song, “Let It Go” - performed by star Idina Menzel - winning best original song. It is loosely based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen.
“The Great Gatsby” also picked up two Oscars, for costume design and production design. The awards were picked up by Baz Luhrmann's partner Catherine Martin.
Best foreign-language film award went to “The Great Beauty” from Italy, while Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers took home the Best documentary feature award for “20 Feet From Stardom”.
But there were no awards for David O Russell's “American Hustle”, which had 10 nominations, including nods in all the acting categories. Nor were there any awards for Martin Scorsese's “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Ellen DeGeneres hosted the ceremony, for the second time, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday.