the heart-wrenching tale of an elderly couple coping with the wife's debilitating stroke, gave Austria the Best Foreign Language film after it had dominated awards shows in Europe and the United States for months.
Another Austrian, Christoph Waltz, was the surprise winner of the closest contest going into the ceremony. He took Best Supporting Actor honors for his turn as an eccentric dentist turned bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's slavery revenge fantasy "Django Unchained."
It was Waltz's second Oscar, after winning for the Tarantino movie "Inglourious Basterds" in 2010.
A jubilant Tarantino also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and credited the actors who brought the characters in all his films to life. "And boy this time, did I do it!," he said.
"Brave," the Pixar movie about a feisty Scottish princess, took home the golden statuette for Best Animated Feature.
The Oscar winners were chosen in secret ballots by some 5,800 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.