"I am the happiest director in the world," said director Michel Havanavicius, who won the directing prize for "The Artist."
"The Artist" is the first silent film winner in 85 years. "The Artist" star Jean Dujardin became the first Frenchman to win best actor, beating out George Clooney for "The Descendants," Gary Oldman for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Brad Pitt for "Moneyball" and Demian Bichir for "A Better Life."
"Oh, thank you. Oui. I love your country," Dujardin said when accepting his Oscar.
Meryl Streep won an Oscar for best actress for her role in "The Iron Lady," marking her third Oscar win.
"When they called my name, I had this feeling I can hear half of America going, 'Oh no, oh come on, why her, again?' But whatever," Streep said when accepting her award.
It was the first Oscar win for 82-year-old Christopher Plummer and 39-year-old Octavia Spencer, who both won supporting-acting awards. Plummer has the distinction of being the oldest actor ever to win the coveted honor for his role in "Beginners."
"You're only two years older than me, darling," Plummer said to his statuette. "Where have you been all of my life?"
Spencer topped off her Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and SAG award victories with the "big one," earning her first Academy Award for her role in "The Help." She was tearful when accepting her prize, beating out co-star Jessica Chastain, Berenice Bejo of "The Artist," Melissa McCarthy of "Bridesmaids" and Janet McTeer of "Albert Nobbs."
"Thank you Academy for putting me with the hottest guy in the room," Spencer said as she looked at Christian Bale, who presented her with the award.
Martin Scorsese's Paris adventure "Hugo" took home five awards, including cinematography, art direction, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects. The film had been nominated in 11 categories.
Billy Crystal was back to host the event for the ninth time. The comedian has created some of the Oscars most memorable moments, and he didn't disappoint with his signature introduction of the best-picture nominees with a goofy song.
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