Michel Hazanavicius has won his first Oscar, given for Directing for his film "The Artist," marking the director's first win and third nomination.
Hazanavicius, 44, beat nominees Alexander Payne of "The Descendants," Martin Scorsese of "Hugo," Woody Allen of "Midnight in Paris" and Terrence Malick of "The Tree of Life." The winners of the 2012 Academy Awards were named at a Los Angeles ceremony on Sunday, February 26.
In his acceptance speech, Hazanavicius (pronounced "ha-zah-nah-VEESH-us") thanked the human actors and filmmakers of the silent comedy as well as another special star of "The Artist."
"I want to thank Uggie the dog. I think he doesn't care," the director said. "I'm not sure he understands what I say. It's not that good, but thank you."
The 10-year-old furry star, who won the Golden Collar Award earlier this month for his performance in "The Artist," was not present at the 2012 Academy Awards but did appear on the red carpet at other events weeks earlier. His trainer told OnTheRedCarpet.com that Uggie is set to retire.
"The Artist" is a silent, black and white film that depicts the lives of a declining actor named George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, and a rising actress named Peppy Miller, portrayed by Bejo, in Hollywood in the late 1920s. Around that time, silent films began to be phased out and were soon replaced by 'talkies,' or movies with dialogue.
James Cromwell plays Valentin's driver, Clifton, while Penelope Ann Miller portrays the silent film actor's wife, Doris. Missi Pyle plays another actress named Constance and John Goodman stars as producer Al Zimmer.
"Life is full of grace and it brings to us joy and happiness and sometimes life is wonderful and today is one of those days," Hazanavicius added. "Thank you for giving it to me." (Check out a video of his speech.)
Upon learning of his nomination, the director said, "I am so honored for this nomination. Filming 'The Artist' in Los Angeles was a dream come true, and to receive this recognition today is far beyond what I ever imagined. I couldn't have done this film without the incredible cast of actors and outstanding crew whose heart and souls were poured into this project."
"The Artist," which won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, earned ten Oscar nods for the 2012 Academy Awards, including one for best picture.
Hazanavicius was also nominated in the categories of Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay for the film. His wife, actress Bérénice Bejo was also nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for "The Artist."
Check out a trailer for "The Artist" below.