A film about the Iranian hostage crisis was the surprise best picture winner Sunday at the 85th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, beating out a movie about the 16th U.S. president's battle to abolish slavery.
Odds were not on Argo, directed, produced and starring Ben Affleck, to win the top prize. That had been widely expected to go to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.
The top award was announced by Michelle Obama in a surprise appearance from the White House. She said the nominated films "made us laugh and made us weep."
Argo also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay for its tale of the CIA mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Argo's win was not the only upset of the evening. Critics had tapped Spielberg to take home the best director Oscar, but that prize went instead to Ang Lee for The Life of Pi.
However, Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis won the best actor prize, making history by becoming the first man to win three best actor Oscars.
Jennifer Lawrence was named best actress for her role as a young widow in Silver Linings Playbook.
Best supporting acting nods went to Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables and Austrian actor Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained.
Hathaway said in her acceptance speech -- "here's hoping that some day in the not too distant future the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories and not in real life."
Amour, the story of of an elderly couple coping with the wife's stroke, gave Austria the best foreign language film.
Quentin Tarantino won the Oscar for best original screenplay for Django Unchained.
British singer Adele won the best original song Oscar for Skyfall for the James Bond movie of the same name.
Dame Shirley Bassey, who is 76 years old, earned a standing ovation after singing Goldfinger, the 1964 James Bond theme that launched her international career.
The Academy Awards featured a tribute to the so-called 'Bond girls' who have appeared in the British super spy series that is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Seth MacFarlane hosted this year's ceremony.