- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake)
First-time Oscar Award-winner Michel Hazanavicius has dominated the 84th Academy Awards earning Best Director over Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen.
"I'm the happiest director in the world right now, thank you for that," said Hazanavicius after accepting his first Oscar win.
Hazanavicius was largely unknown in the U.S., and surprised viewers by beating Hollywood giants Scorsese and Allen for Best Director.
The little-known French director was at the helm of the critically acclaimed film "The Artist." He also won the BAFTA and Directors Guild prizes for "The Artist," which he also wrote.
"The Artist," which Hazanavicius has explained was a tribute to old Hollywood, starred his wife Berenice Bojo. Before taking the stage to accept Best Director at the awards ceremony Sunday, the 44-year-old turned to kiss Bojo and thanked her in his speech.
Hazanavicius also thanked another star in "The Artist"- Uggie, one of Hollywood's most talked-about animals.
"I want to thank Uggie the dog," said the director. "I think he doesn't care, I'm not sure he understand what I say. He's not that good, but thank you," he joked.
Hazanavicius got his start in film and television after directing commercials for French television during the 1990s before making his first feature-length movies, "Mes Amis," which starred his brother Serge.
The Oscar winner made waves on Twitter, with fans of "The Artist" as well as critics expressing surprise and congratulations.
E! News posted on its account: "Congrats Michel Hazanavicius for winning Best DIrector for The Artist!"
"The Artist won," wrote Harry. "Big silent film fan and so happy that a film like that can still be appreciated this day in age."
Another big win of the night went to "The Artist" star Jean Dujardin, who took home Best Actor. "The Artist" saw five awards total, including Best Picture.