Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist" was named best picture at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday.
It is the first essentially silent film to win best picture since "Wings" won at the first Oscar ceremony in 1929. Additionally, "The Artist" is the first black-and-white movie to win best picture since "Schindler's List" in 1994.
"The Artist" is a look at the early days of Hollywood starring Jean Dujardin as silent film star George Valentin and Berenice Bejo as the ordinary girl who becomes a silent film sensation. But perhaps the most notable member of the cast is Uggie, the Jack Russell Terrier who potrays Valentin's dog, Jack.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and quickly earned critical acclaim (including a Palm Dog award for Uggie).
It became a year-end critics' favorite, topping several year's-best lists, as well as winning the Critics' Choice Award for best picture. It also won top film awards from the Producers Guild of America, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and best motion picture musical or comedy from the Golden Globes.
The film topped a field that included "The Descendants," "Hugo," "The Help," "Moneyball," "War Horse," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "Midnight in Paris" and "The Tree of Life."
The Academy Awards took place in Hollywood and were televised live on ABC. They were presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose membership was recently examined in depth by the Los Angeles Times.
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-- Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: Peter Iovino / The Weinstein Co.