Silence is golden for French Artist
Silent film The Artist made a lot of noise at this year's Oscars.
The black and white flick scooped a total of five prizes, taking home the night's most coveted trophies, including Best Picture, Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.
Athough Jean barely spoke in the picture and has only been learning English for a short while, the star had plenty to say when his name was read out.
"I love your country!" he yelled as he was crowned King of Hollywood and made history by becoming the first Frenchman to win the accolade.
He thanked his co-stars and his wife before concluding with a jig and an impromptu burst of French.
Meanwhile, Meryl Streep struggled to hold back the tears as she held aloft the third Oscar of her career – 33 years after her first Academy Award win.
Her seismic interpretation of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady beat off competition from Viola Davis and Michelle Williams.
Accepting her award from last year's Best Actor Colin Firth, she said: "When they called my name I imagined half of America going 'Aw, no! Her! Again!".
She then went on to thank her friends. "The ones that are departed and the ones that are here".
"I really understand I'll never be up here again. I really want to think all my colleagues, my friends. I look out here and I see my life before my eyes.
"Really, this is such a great honor but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendship and the love and the sheer joy we've shared making movies together."
The Oscar netted her a hat trick of prizes after already taking home Golden Globe and BAFTA awards.
Earlier in the night, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer moved the audience with wins for their respective supporting roles.
Octavia's turn as a feisty maid in The Help not only gained her the coveted statuette, but also a rousing standing ovation from her peers.
She couldn't hold back the tears as she took to the stage and hurriedly tried to name check all her supporters.
"I share this with everybody" she said. "I'm wrapping up, I'm sorry, I am freaking out. Thank you world".
Christopher Plummer, 82, was more composed as he made history by becoming the oldest ever winner of an Oscar for his role as a dying man discovering his sexuality in The Beginners.
The silver-haired actor eye-balled his prize, held it aloft and joked: "You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?"
Martin Scorsese's 3D masterpiece Hugo cleaned up in the technical categories, walking away with Best Visual Effects, Cinematography and Sound Editing.
And nine-times host Billy Crystal did a stellar job of holding the night together, with his retro, razzle-dazzle set that harked back to ceremonies past.
He welcomed the crowd enthusiastically, quipping: "Nothing can take the sting out of our economic worries more than millionaires presenting themselves with little gold statues."
Competing with him in the entertainment stakes were Bridesmaids cast members, Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne.
The girls kept their promise of playing the Martin Scorsese drinking game, as introduced at the SAG Awards weeks earlier.
They vowed to take a tipple when the eleven-time-nominated director's name was called.
And when a cheeky member of the audience yelled it out, they obligingly guzzled down shots of Grey Goose vodka.
Earlier in the evening, Sacha Baron Cohen got the fun started when he turned up as his new character, The Dictator.
He was carrying an urn which he claimed contained the ashes of late North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il and he emptied the contents over stunned American television presenter, Ryan Seacrest.
Oscars 2012: List of winners
- Best Film: The Artist
- Best Actor: Jean Dujardin
- Best Actress: Meryl Streep
- Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer
- Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
- Best Director: Michael Hazanavicius
- Best Original Screenplay: Midnight In Paris
- Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
- Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
- Best Animation: Rango
- Best Art Direction: Hugo
- Best Cinematograpy: Hugo
- Best Sound Mixing: Hugo
- Best Sound Editing: Hugo
- Best Original Song: Man Or Muppet
- Best Original Score: The Artist
- Best costumes: The Artist
- Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated
- Best Documentary Short: Saving face
- Best Film Editing: The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo
- Best Makeup: The Iron Lady