The 86th Academy Awards looked like it was going to follow a traditional path, and it pretty much did. A few surprises were sprinkled in here and there -- you just had to go looking for them.

Here are the five we found:

1. Lupita Nyong'o, best supporting actress for "12 Years a Slave": Even though Nyong'o was gaining on early fave Jennifer Lawrence of "American Hustle" in the final stretch of award season, there was a sense this category was hardly decided. Would the Academy really go for an unknown? Or would they reward America's box-office sweetheart fresh off last year's win? In the end, they wound up doing the just thing: Giving it to the person who graced us with a performance that sent shivers up and down our spines. No one in that category was more deserving. No one.

2. John Ridley, best adapted screenplay for "12 Years a Slave": Ridley's adaptation of Solomon Northrup's autobiography appeared to be a long shot, with many suspecting the overlooked squabbling couple drama "Before Midnight" would get a little recognition. And if that didn't play out, the frenetic, foul-mouthed "Wolf of Wall Street" would be the spoiler. But Ridley's intense screenplay apparently was seared in the minds of Academy voters.

3. "Let It Go" wins: Nearly everyone was resigned to the fact that the U2 song "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" was a lock in the original song race. Not that it was necessarily the best song (it wasn't), but it was a song Oscar by which could stand with conviction. Never underestimate the power of Disney, though; the upstart "Let It Go" caught the "Frozen" awards drift and skated to another deserved victory.


Advertisement

4. Darlene Love: The singer helped accept "20 Feet From Stardom's" best documentary award, thereby injecting some passion into a tepid show. The phenomenal singer featured in this rousing crowd-pleaser about backup performers was a fireball of much-needed energy. She belted out her thank you and it helped jump-start the proceedings. Wish she could have been a stand-in for some of the other presenters.

5. "12 Years a Slave" wins best picture: OK, it wasn't THAT big of surprise. The bigger shock was seeing the film's director Steve McQueen jump up and down after accepting the award. Way to cut loose, McQueen. Didn't expect that from him.


Lupita Nyong’o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on
Lupita Nyong'o accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)