Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu's dark comedy Birdman won four Oscars, including best picture, at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on February 22.
Inarritu won the best director award for his movie about a washed-up former superhero actor attempting a comeback on the Broadway stage.
But veteran Michael Keaton did not win the best actor Oscar for his performance in Birdman.
That honor went to Britain's Eddie Redmayne, who played physicist Stephen Hawking -- who suffers from the motor-neuron disease known as ALS -- in The Theory Of Everything.
Five-time nominee Julianne Moore won best actress for her portrayal of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's in Still Alice.
Ida, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's black-and-white film about a nun who learns she is a Jewish orphan, won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
Ida beat out rivals including Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev's Leviathan, a dark portrayal of corruption and power that had state funding but has been criticized by Russian officials, including the culture minister.
The award for best documentary went to Citizenfour, a film by director Laura Poitras about Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who detailed the secret mass-surveillance programs and is now in hiding in Russia.
Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris joked that Snowden "could not be here for some treason."
Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia after fleeing the United States in 2013, is wanted in the United States on espionage charges.
Like Birdman, Wes Anderson's movie The Grand Budapest Hotel won four Oscars, but major awards eluded it.
Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress for her role in Boyhood, while Whiplash's J.K. Simmons won best supporting actor.
Iraq war drama American Sniper won the Academy Award for best sound editing, while Interstellar won for best visual effects.
The closely watched annual award ceremony was marked this year by a lack of diversity, with few minorities among the nominees.
Harris drew attention to that issue, while also making light of it, by saying: "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest, sorry -- brightest."
The awards are decided in voting by the 6,100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
With reporting by Reuters and AP