Some of the Oscars' winners
Adele has won the Oscar for best original song for her Bond theme Skyfall in Hollywood.
The tearful singer thanked her songwriting partner Paul Epworth for "believing in me all the time, and my man, I love you baby".
She wowed the audience of A-listers in the Dolby Theatre with her first ever live performance of the 23rd Bond film's title track, reports Sky News.
A tribute to the Bond films and music made up of classic clips of 007's adventures was introduced by one-time Bond girl Halle Berry. And 76-year-old Dame Shirley Bassey took to the stage in a gold dress to sing Goldfinger which received a standing ovation.
Ben Affleck's Argo won the biggest award of the night, for best picture, despite him not being nominated in the best director category.
The nominees for best film were introduced by first lady Michelle Obama from the White House, before she named Argo as the winner.
Director and star Affleck paid tribute to the "genius" Steven Spielberg whose film, Lincoln, lost out in the category.
Referring to his success with 1997's Good Will Hunting, he said: "I never thought I would be back here and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight."
He added: "It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is that you get up."
Daniel Day-Lewis became the first man to win the best actor award three times for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg's historical drama.
He spent a year preparing for the role and, in his customary method, remained in character during the production.
Accepting his Oscar from Meryl Streep, Day-Lewis said: "I really don't know how any of this happened, I do know I've received more than my fair share of good fortune in my life".
He joked Streep had been the first choice to play Lincoln and he had been committed to play Margaret Thatcher - the role that won Streep an Oscar last year, before tearfully thanking his mother.
In a night that was otherwise short on shocks Jennifer Lawrence claimed the best actress gong for Silver Linings Playbook. The 22-year-old fell as she climbed the steps to the stage to claim her prize.
Some critics had predicted the award would go to French actress Emmanuelle Riva who starred in Amour and at 86 was the oldest woman ever to be nominated. She won a Bafta award earlier the month for the role.
Anne Hathaway picked up the best supporting actress statue for her role in the musical Les Miserables.
The star, who only featured as Fantine in the film for around 15 minutes, fought back tears as she said "it came true" and thanked her husband and everyone who worked on the film.
She had been widely predicted to win the award in a tough category where Sally Field, Helen Hunt, Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver were also nominated.
Christoph Waltz won the first award of the night, best supporting actor, for his role in Django Unchained.
Waltz offered thanks to his character and "to his creator and the creator of his awe-inspiring world, Quentin Tarantino".
It was the second time in three years he has won the category - his first Oscar was for his role in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Waltz beat off stiff competition from Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones.
Ang Lee picked up the trophy for best director for Life of Pi in a snub for Spielberg who many expected would collect the award for Lincoln.
Brave, the Scottish story of a rebellious, red-headed princess, won the Oscar for best animated feature.
Amour, a French-language film about an elderly couple won best foreign language film which was accepted by its Austrian director Michael Haneke.
Skyfall also won the trophy for best sound editing, which was tied with Zero Dark Thirty. It is only the third time in Oscar history that winners have been tied.
The night of British success started with Jacqueline Durran winning for her costume design on Anna Karenina and the makeup and hairstyling award went to Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Miserables.
This year's ceremony was hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane who started the show with a joke about Affleck failing to win a best director nomination, quipping that he was "unknown to the Academy".
William Shatner made a guest appearance as his Star Trek character Captain James Kirk, appearing on a giant screen above the stage during MacFarlane's monologue, saying he came back in time to stop the host from ruining the Oscars.
The presentation of awards was broken up by a series of musical performances including Catherine Zeta Jones singing All That Jazz from Chicago and Jennifer Hudson performing I'm Telling You from Dreamgirls.
But it was a medley of Les Miserables songs sung by the cast that had the audience covered in goosebumps.