LOS ANGELES — Ben Affleck's "Argo," a film about a fake movie, has earned a very real prize: 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 honors among a range of films, with "Argo" winning three trophies but "Life of Pi" leading with four.
Daniel Day-Lewis joined a select group of recipients with his third Oscar, taking the best-actor 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 Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset as best director for "Life of Pi."
Anne Hathaway went from propping up leaden sidekick James Franco at the 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."
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 performers.
With a monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln, Day-Lewis became the only performer to win three best-actor Oscars, adding to the honors he earned for "My Left Foot" and "There Will Be Blood." He's just the sixth actor to earn three or more Oscars, tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan with three each, and just behind Katharine Hepburn, who won four.
Hathaway, whose perkiness helped carry her and the listless Franco through an ill-starred stint as Oscar hosts two years ago, is the third performer in a musical to win supporting actress during the genre's resurgence in the last decade.
"It came true," said Hathaway, who joins 2002 supporting-actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones for "Chicago" and 2006 recipient Jennifer Hudson for "Dreamgirls." Hathaway had warm thanks for "Les Miz" co-star Hugh Jackman, with whom she once sang a duet at the Oscars when he was the show's host.
Hathaway's Oscar came for her role as noble but fallen Fantine in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash that was based on Victor Hugo's epic novel of revolution, romance and redemption in 19th century France.
"Life of Pi" also won for Mychael Danna's multicultural musical score that blends Indian and Western instruments and influences, plus cinematography and visual effects.
"I really want to thank you for believing this story and sharing this incredible journey with me," Lee said to all who worked on the film, a surprise blockbuster about a youth trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
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