Although Gravity dominated the 2014 Oscars, soaking up awards in the technical categories, it could not take home the top prize. As anticipated by many Oscar prognosticators, there was a somewhat rare Best Director/Best Picture split: Alfonso Cuaron took home Best Director, but it was 12 Years a Slave that won Best Picture. (The true-life slavery epic also won Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.)
Producer Brad Pitt gave a few brief remarks but quickly gave way to 12 Years director Steve McQueen, who closed his speech on a powerful note. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup,” he said. “I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.” He then turned around and, literally, jumped for joy.