The 84th Academy Awards ceremony has ended with The Artist walking away the biggest winner. The black-and-white film picked up five awards in all, including best picture, actor for Jean Dujardin and directing for Michel Hazanavicius. The last time a silent film earned the top prize was when the World War I saga "Wings" was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929.
The film won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Music and Best Director."I am the happiest director in the world," Havanavicius said, thanking the cast, crew and canine co-star Uggie. "I also want to thank the financier, the crazy person who put money in the movie."
C'est incroyable! Jean Dujardin won Best Actor at the 84th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night for his charming lead role in "The Artist."
"I love your country," the handsome Frenchman said while accepting his trophy. He had previously won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA and Independent Spirit awards. He's the first French-born actor to win the award.
Dujardin's biggest competition for the award came from George Clooney, who played a downtrodden dad in "The Descendants." Other nominees in the category included Brad Pitt ("Moneyball"), Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") and Demian Bichir ("A Better Life").
Meryl Streep won her third Oscar, taking the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Octavia Spencer received a standing ovation when she won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She was one of two actresses nominated in the category from the film, which tells the story of African American maids in the racially segregated southern United States of the 1960s.
Another big winner was Hugo, a visually rich 3D tribute to a French film pioneer. It won five awards, including cinematography, art direction and sound editing.
In a sign of the times, the studios had very little presences in the winners circle. The Artist was directed, produced by and starred French folks (though it was the only Best Picture nominee actually filmed in Los Angeles) and was distributed by The Weinstein Company.
The big losers tonight: George Clooney, Viola Davis and Billy Crystal. Clooney, who has yet to win a Best Actor award, was widely expected to win this year for The Descendants but he was beat by Jean Dujardin who only spoke two words in The Artist. Meryl Streep (who was nominated for a 17th time) beat Davis who many thought would win for The Help.