Ben Affleck's 'Argo', the story of how Hollywood, Canada and the CIA teamed up to rescue six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis, has earned best picture at the Academy Awards.
From the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to help present the final prize.
''There are eight great films that have every right, as much a right to be up here as we do,'' Affleck said of the other best-picture nominees.
In share-the-wealth mode, Oscar voters spread Sunday's honours among a range of films, with 'Argo' winning three trophies but 'Life of Pi' leading with four.
British actor Daniel Day-Lewis became the first person to win three best actor awards, taking the trophy for his monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War saga 'Lincoln'.
'Hunger Games' star Jennifer Lawrence triumphed in Hollywood's big games, winning the best actress as a damaged soul in 'Silver Linings Playbook', while Taiwanese director Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset as best director for 'Life of Pi'.
Anne went from propping up leaden sidekick James Franco as a presenter at last year's Academy Awards to hefting a golden statue of her own with a supporting-actress Oscar win as a doomed mother-turned-prostitute in the musical 'Les Miserables'.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Tarantino film, this time as a genteel bounty hunter in the slave-revenge saga 'Django Unchained'. Tarantino also won his second Oscar, for original screenplay for 'Django'.
Ang Lee pulled off a major upset, won best director for the shipwreck story 'Life of Pi', taking the prize over Steven Spielberg, who had been favored for 'Lincoln'.
Lawrence took a fall on her way to the stage, tripping on the steps.
''You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell,'' Lawrence joked as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
At 22, Lawrence is the second-youngest woman to win best actress, behind Marlee Matlin, who was 21 when she won for 'Children of a Lesser God'. Lawrence also is the third-youngest best-actress contender ever, earning her first nomination at age 20 two years ago for her breakout role in ``Winter's Bone,'' the film that took her from virtual unknown to one of Hollywood's most-versatile and sought-after