Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller Argo rode to victory at the 85th Academy Awards as it took home the coveted best picture trophy despite the actor-director not being nominated in the best helmer category.

From the White House in Washington DC, First Lady Michelle Obama joined actor Jack Nicholson here at Dolby Theatre to help present the final prize.

The film was the bookies’ favourite going into the event, having already been named best film at the Baftas and best drama at the Golden Globes.

Affleck sped through his acceptance speech, and his voice cracked while he thanked his wife Jennifer Garner.

“Thank You. Steven Spielberg is a genius, a talent among us. I want to acknowledge the other great films that have as much right to be up here as we do and many of them who did not even get nominated this year.

“I want to thank my brother, mom, dad. I want to thank my friends in Iran. I thank my wife. I was here 15 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing and I never thought I would be here. I am here because of so many of people, who have taught me to work harder than you possibly can. It does not matter how you get knocked down in life,” Affleck said.

Played out against the backdrop of the 1979 hostage crisis, ‘Argo’ spins the account of a joint Hollywood—CIA mission to spring six imperiled Americans from revolutionary Iran, using a fake movie production as a decoy.

The film stars director Affleck as a CIA agent, while the supporting cast includes John Goodman, Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin. ‘Argo’ is Affleck’s third stint in the director’s chair — after ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and the Boston crime drama ‘The Town’ and by far his most successful.

‘Brave’ best animated feature

The story of a high-spirited Scottish princess in ‘Brave’ charmed the Academy voters to win the coveted golden statuette in the best animated feature film category while the love story of a young office worker won the best animated short film Oscar.

Directed by Mark Andrews, ‘Brave’ defeated veteran Hollywood filmmaker Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’, Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ‘ParaNorman’, Peter Lord’s ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ and Rich Moore’s ‘Wreck—It Ralph’

The movie follows the story of Merida, a high—spirited Scottish princess who resists her mother’s efforts to transform her into a more ladylike young woman.

Faced with an arranged marriage she doesn’t want, Merida runs away into the forest, where she encounters a witch who teaches her a dangerous spell.

This is the second Academy Award nomination for Andrews as he was previously nominated for ‘One Man Band’ in 2005.

On the other hand ‘Paperman’, is about a young man working in an office who desperately tries to attract the attention of a girl in the building across the street.

This is the first Academy Award nomination for director John Kahrs.