(Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake)
Silent film "The Artist" walked away the big winner at the 84th annual Academy Awards, taking home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, among others.
In the movie, Jean Dujardin portrays fictional silent film star George Valentin, whose career is ended with the advent of talkies.
In his first ever nomination, Dujardin thanked the dog, Uggie, who stars in the film, and then joked: "I don't think he cares."
On his character, he added: "If George Valentin could speak, he would say 'Wow! Victorie! Genial! Merci!'"
"I love your country," the French actor aid humorously as he began his acceptance speech. He then went on to pay homage to an era in film long past: "In 1929, it wasn't Billy Crystal, but Douglas Fairbanks who hosted the first Oscar ceremony. Tickets cost $5 and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed."
The film's French director, Michel Hazanavicius, who took the Best Director Oscar, was not well known in the United States before the film. However, he beat an incredible lineup of acclaimed directors including Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life"), and Alexander Payne ("The Descendants").
Hazanavicius responded to his win almost in disbelief: "I have an Oscar! I am the happiest director in the world right now."
Hazanavicius became a favorite for Best Director in late January, when he beat David Fincher, Allen, Payne, Scorsese and David Fincher to win the DGA Award, a win which has predicted the winning director for 57 of the 63 years in its existence.
"The Artist" also is the first silent film to win the Best Picture Oscar since the awards first began in 1929, and is the first black and white movie to win since Schindler's List in 1993.
"The Artist" also took home Oscars for Best Costumes and Best Original Score.