The Artist big winner at Oscars
Meryl Streep has triumphed at the Oscars for her role as Margaret Thatcher while The Artist became the first silent film to win best picture in 83 years.
The Artist - a tribute to the world of black and white silent cinema - won five awards including best picture, actor and director.
Its French director, Michel Hazanavicius, paid tribute to his wife - and one of the film's stars - Berenice Bejo who lost out on the supporting actress award - telling her "you're the soul of the movie and the positive feeling of the movie".
He also said of his cinematic hero: "I want to thank Billy Wilder, I want to thank Billy Wilder and I want to thank Billy Wilder" and Uggie the Dog, one of the film's cast, joking: "I think he doesn't care, I'm not sure he understands me."
Streep received the best actress Oscar - her third Academy Award - this time for her role in The Iron Lady. The actress joked she could hear "half of America going 'Oh no'" when her name, as widely predicted, was read out.
Backstage, she said that as her alter-ego liked a whisky at night, she would celebrate with the same tipple and then, referring to the shoes she was wearing, a brand favoured by the former prime minister, she said "we will see if I can walk on the Ferragamos".
Jean Dujardin was named best actor for The Artist and the actor later apologised backstage for swearing in French on stage, when he told the audience how his screen character would have reacted to the win.
Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer picked up the supporting actor and actress gongs respectively. Plummer, who at 82 is the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar, held up his statuette and joked: "You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?"
He paid tribute to his co-star in Beginners, Ewan McGregor, whom he said he would "happily share this award with, if I had any decency, but I don't".
The Artist, which also picked up awards for costume design and original score, is the first silent winner since the World War I saga Wings was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929.