The night figured to be a coronation for the actress, who'd won best actress honors at the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe Awards and other shows for her role in "Blue Jasmine." Instead, the prospect of waiting until nearly the end of Sunday's ceremony proved stressful for the two-time Oscar winner.
"It was an intense, unbearable pressure which I'm so glad is over," Blanchett said after her win. "It has been every year."
Blanchett, who has been nominated for acting Oscars five times, took a hiatus from films in recent years to focus on theater work. She won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2005 for "The Aviator."
"Every year I watch this thing remotely and every year there are five, six, 10, 12 or 20 performances by women that I'm gobsmacked by and inspired by," she said. "And it gets whittled down to five. To be in conversation with those women by proxy ... that's the privilege and the rest is just chocolate."
Jared Leto made sure he captured every aspect of his Oscar moment, going so far as to film the one-minute process it took to engrave his name on his best supporting actor trophy after the show.
Matthew McConaughey also dropped by the Oscar engraving station at the Governor's Ball to have his name placed on his best actor trophy. He commemorated the moment with pictures of himself and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey
Spike Jonze arrived at the engraving table just moments ahead of fellow Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron.
"Hey, no cutting!" Jonze, the Best Original Screenplay winner, joked before posing for photos with Cuaron, the Best Director winner.
The engraving station has been going for five years and nearly every winner stops by.
"My morning began with being pummeled like Kobe beef. And it's just gotten better and better." –Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett on having the choice of three Armani dresses to choose from for the awards ceremony.
The night was going so well for "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron that he didn't bother making a speech during his first trip to the Oscars stage on Sunday.
He let his co-winner for best film editing take the limelight, only thanking his family backstage after he was prompted to do so by a reporter.
Fortunately for family relations, he got a second chance when he won the best director Oscar. By that point, the film had also won for cinematography, score, sound editing and mixing, and visual effects.
In addition to thanking his family, Cuaron offered special praise to Sandra Bullock ("the soul and heart of the film").
Sure, he just won the Oscar for best actor for "Dallas Buyers Club," but when it came time to talk after the show, Matthew McConaughey was just as interested in what reporters thought about his new HBO series "True Detective."
The program has quickly become a hit, and McConaughey realized he was doing Oscar interviews about the same time a new episode was airing in some markets. He asked if anyone had seen it and what they thought.
Suddenly there were shouts of "No spoilers." Many in the press corps hadn't had time to tune in.
"I don't know what happens," McConaughey said, throwing up his arms.
"Aww, maybe I do and I'm not telling," he added with a knowing grin.
"I think everything is going to happen. At this point in history, we're 13 billion years into this universe, and there are many more years after this." — Oscar winner Spike Jonze, asked whether he thinks an artificial intelligence computer girlfriend like the one depicted in "Her" will one day be reality
It turns out Matthew McConaughey's hero is himself, a few years down the line.
In accepting the Oscar for Best Actor, McConaughey said he needs three things in his life to survive: God, family and someone to look up to as a hero.
When he was 15, the actor said, he decided that hero would be himself in 10 years. Ten years later, he pushed the deadline back another decade. Then another decade.
"My hero's always 10 years away," the 44-year-old actor said in a gracious acceptance speech. "I'm never going to attain that. That keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing."
After thanking God, his wife and children, his mother and his late father, he offered up something else long-time fans have been waiting to hear this Oscar season: "All right, all right, all right."
The signature line, from the character McConaughey played in his first film, "Dazed and Confused," brought the house down.
What interrupted Jennifer Lawrence's presentation of the Best Actor trophy?
That would be Ellen DeGeneres and the cast of "Dallas Buyers Club."
As the "American Hustle" actress waltzed on stage, DeGeneres cautiously exited, making sure last year's Best Actress winner didn't take another tumble before DeGeneres, who had earlier teased Lawrence about falling, got off stage.
While most of the crowd didn't catch the joke, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and their cohorts laughed loudly, causing Lawrence to go off script.
McConaughey had the last laugh.
He won the best actor prize seconds later.
"I have to remember to breathe." —Penelope Cruz to Robert De Niro before taking the Oscar stage to present the screenplay awards.
Hey, TV watchers: Bet you wondered how they pulled off that "Wizard of Oz" tribute that showed Pink in Kansas and later in the Land of Oz as she sang "Over the Rainbow" during the Oscar telecast.
It took more than five projectors beaming images onto a translucent screen masking the singer to pull it off.
While the effect may have appeared magical on television, those in the Dolby Theatre audience couldn't really make out Pink for most of the song.
Still, they were impressed.
Jamie Foxx was the first on his feet after she finished.
It was Matthew McConaughey who was the loudest, shouting "WOO-HOO!" multiple times.
He's her neighbor, after all.
That was a real pizza delivery guy, not an actor, who helped Ellen DeGeneres pass out those pies to the Oscar audience.
The show host met him in a backstage hallway to check out the goods.
"Is it hot?" she asked him. He assured her it was.
"What kind we got here?" she asked. Cheese and veggie with no cheese, he told her.
"OK. Let's go!" she said, leading the delivery guy onto the Oscar stage.
Lupita Nyong'o's Best Supporting Actress win wasn't just a major moment for the newcomer — it touched everyone in the Dolby Theatre, both in the audience and backstage.
Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, who'd presented the previous award, stayed backstage to watch the category on a monitor. When the clip of Nyong'o's performance was shown, Hemsworth clapped and Theron said, "So good."
When Nyong'o's name was called, the stars cheered, as did the other backstage workers.
When a teary-eyed Nyong'o walked off stage and into the theater hallway, Ellen DeGeneres was waiting to greet her.
"Yay, yay, yay!" DeGeneres said. "You won an Oscar! And it was such a beautiful speech. Such composure!"
She made the actress smile by adding: "And we crashed Twitter with that photo!"
"Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else's." — Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong'o, referring to Patsey, the tortured slave she played in "12 Years a Slave."
One of Oscar night's best-received musical performances was wholly unexpected.
Darlene Love belted out that "I sing because I'm happy" when appearing onstage with the winners of the best documentary feature, "20 Feet From Stardom."
Love, best known for her work with producer Phil Spector in the 1960s, was one of the featured artists in the film about some of the music industry's best backup singers.
From the audience, Pharrell Williams smiled as she finished her song. Bill Murray pumped his fist and rose, and other spectators joined him in a standing ovation.
When it was time for U2 to perform their Oscar-nominated song, "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Bono ended it with a shoutout: "Darlene Love!"
By the halfway point of Pharrell Williams' colorful performance of his Oscar-nominated song "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2," all the celebs were on their feet dancing and clapping.
All except for one lone holdout: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Eventually, the "Wolf of Wall Street" actor came around, joining front-row mates Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Meryl Streep.
Immediately afterward, Pharrell and his backup dancers froze in position until a stage manager gave them the all clear. Several of the dancers let out a yelp of excitement once they realized it was indeed over.
Cellphone-clutching celebrities are turning the Oscar red carpet into Selfie Central.
For the first time in memory, the photographers walking this year's red carpet were clearly outnumbered by Oscar nominees, presenters, and other attendees stopping to snap photos of themselves with their phones.
So many selfie shooters crowded the carpet that Oscar organizers had to remind them to keep moving to avoid a traffic jam. Or, worse yet, having someone bump into them and ruin their photo.