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Oscars 2012: Jean Dujardin wins Actor in a Leading Role for 'The Artist'

Get more: Award Shows, Oscars
02/26/2012 by Kristina Lopez

Jean Dujardin has won his first Oscar, given for Actor in a Leading Role for "The Artist," which marked his first nomination.

The 39-year-old French actor beat nominees Brad Pitt of "Moneyball," George Clooney of "The Descendents," Gary Oldman of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and Demian Bichir of "A Better Life." The winners of the 2012 Academy Awards were named at a Los Angeles ceremony on Sunday, February 26.

"I love your country," Dujardin joked as he accepted his award. ""Thank you my wonderful partner Berenice Bejo, thank you the wonderful cast and crew," he added. "My wife, I love you. Kisses.

Dujardin then referenced his character, saying: "If George Valentin could speak, he'd say ... 'MERCI BEAUCOUP! FORMIDABLE! I love you!'"

"The Artist" is a mostly silent, black and white film that depicts the lives of Valentine, a veteran silent film actor, 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. The movie also stars John Goodman as producer Al Zimmer. Another star of the movie is Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier.

Dujardin has won several awards for the role including a BAFTA Film Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical in January for his role in "The Artist."

While accepting his award, Dujardin said, "When I was starting out & they said to me, 'You'll never do movies. Your face is too expressive. Too big. It's not my fault. My eyebrows are independent. No seriously, I have always followed my instincts and ... fight for my dreams

Dujardin began his on-screen career in the late 1990s and aside from "The Artist," has starred only in French productions.

Check out a full list of winners of the 2012 Oscars here.

Check out what Jean Dujardin told reporters backstage.

Check out a trailer for "The Artist."

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