The leading ladies also gave two of the most eloquent speeches of the evening, graciously thanking theirfamilies and colleagues as they accepted their awards.
Cate – who has been nominated for an Oscar six times and took the Supporting Actress award in 2005 for The Aviator – as visibly shocked as she was named Best Actress for her powerful performance in Blue Jasmine. She rose from her seat with her mouth agape as her name was read out.
“As random and subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year, yet again, of extraordinary performances by women,” she began.
Of Dame Judi, she added, “She’s not here tonight because at the age of 79, her film is so successful that she’s in India doing a sequel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2). I mean what a career that is.”
Cate went on to chastise “those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the centre are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences wanna see them, and, in fact, they make money. The world is round people,” she quipped.
Lupita Nyong’o struck a chord with the audience as she received her Best Supporting Actress Oscars for 12 Years A Slave.
The shocked star told the assembled crowd, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon (Northup), thank you for telling her story and your own.
“(Director) Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breathe of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life. I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching, and they are grateful and so am I.”