2 March 2014 9:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In a contest that held suspense up until the last minute, Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave” took the best-picture prize Sunday at the 86th Academy Awards and established a few Oscar records in the process. Winning three of its nine nominations, the film is the first best-picture win for a black producer (Steve McQueen, who also directed). That in itself is significant, but it’s got bigger implications: In 85 previous years, blacks have only won in a handful of categories, including acting (14 wins), screenplay (1 win), sound (four wins) and music (7 wins).

Academy Awards 2014: Complete List of Winners

After the 2012 “Argo,” this is the second consecutive win for a film produced by top stars: Last year, it was George Clooney and Ben Affleck, among others; in this case, Brad Pitt, the second in this category after “Moneyball.” (He also has three acting noms.) It’s the second nom for Dede Gardner, »

- Tim Gray

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