It was an Oscar night that will go down in history for Latinos.
Between host Ellen DeGeneres’ quick wit and an impromptu pizza delivery for Hollywood’s biggest star, the 86th Annual Academy Awards not only made history when they honored Latin American talent but also spotlighted the political unrest currently overtaking Venezuela.
Alfonso Cuarón’s innovative space-thriller “Gravity” was the night’s most honored film with a grand total of seven Oscars, which included Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accepted his long-awaited Oscar for his work in the critically-acclaimed film. His work on “Gravity” earned Lubezki his sixth nomination and first win -- in the past the cinematographer was nominated for “Children of Men” and “Y Tu Mamá También,” among others.
But history was truly made when Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón took home the golden statuette for Best Director, becoming the first Latin American to win in the category. Cuarón also accepted an Oscar for Best Film Editing for “Gravity” on Sunday night.
While accepting his Oscar for directing, Cuarón went through a lengthy list of ‘Thank yous’ before finishing his acceptance speech in Spanish.
“This is thanks to you mom, if I am here it is because of you. I love you,” Cuarón said.
“Gravity’s” ten Oscar nominations sparked mixed feelings among Mexicans, who argued that the lost-in-space thriller was not truly a Mexican film like Cuarón’s “Y Tu Mamá También” but a Hollywood blockbuster. Nevertheless, the 52-year-old director had his native Mexico on his mind during the ceremony.
"I'm Mexican so I hope some Mexicans were rooting for me," he told reporters backstage, according to the Associated Press.
Mexican-born, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o was one of the highlights of this award season thanks to her red carpet glamour and memorable breakout performance as Patsy in Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning “12 Years A Slave.” The 31-year-old star, who has spoken about her deep connection with Mexico, won the Oscar for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role.”
"When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every child, no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid," Nyong’o said at the end of her acceptance speech.
Idina Menzel filled the Dolby Theater with her powerful rendition of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Oscar-winning animated feature “Frozen.” But the tune did more than entertain the audience on Sunday, the catchy track won the Oscar for Best Original Song as well.
“Let It Go” was written by Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Robert’s Oscar allowed him to join the likes of Latina icon Rita Moreno on the very elite list of EGOT winners -- individuals who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
And while Latino talent reigned during Sunday’s Oscars, it wasn’t only Latino stars that pleasantly surprised audiences around the world. Though almost half of the Venezuelan population was unable to view the Oscars, those who have been following the political unrest that has plagued the South American country for weeks were pleased to see “Dallas Buyers Club” star Jared Leto give his message of solidarity.
“To all the dreamers out there watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela: We are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” the actor said during his acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Check out the best and the worst from the Oscar 2014 red carpet below: