Feb 23, 12:39 AM EST

Moore wins best-actress Oscar for 'Still Alice'; calls attention to Alzheimer's disease


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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Julianne Moore won her first Oscar as best actress for "Still Alice," and shined a light on Alzheimer's disease in her acceptance speech Sunday night.

The 54-year-old actress added an Academy Award to the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies she won earlier for her role as a college linguistics professor and mother of three who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

"I'm so happy, I'm thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer's disease," Moore said. "So many people who have this disease feel marginalized. People who have Alzheimer's disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure."

Moore did four months of research for her role, talking to women with the disease and doctors, and she visited a long-term care facility.

"I like stories about real people and real relationships and real families," she said backstage. "This movie had all of those things in it. It's about a real issue and relationships and who we love and what we value."

The actress who got her start on the soap opera "As the World Turns" has been nominated for an Oscar four previous times; this year, she was the front-runner throughout awards season.

"This is just amazing," she said backstage, clutching her statuette and grinning.

Moore was sent on her way to the stage by husband-director Bart Freundlich, who is 45.

"I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could lead to living five years longer," she said. "If that's true, I'd really like to thank the academy because my husband is younger than me."

Moore saw a rough cut of the film for the first time with Freundlich.

"When we walked out of there, he said, `You're going to win an Oscar,' and I was like, `Come on,'" she said backstage. "That's how much he supported me from the very, very beginning."

Moore won over Marion Cotillard of "Two Days, One Night"; Felicity Jones from "The Theory of Everything"; Rosamund Pike of "Gone Girl"; and Reese Witherspoon of "Wild."

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AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.

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