Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius won the 2012 Oscar best director award on Sunday for The Artist.
The silent,black-and-white movie focuses on a dashing film star,whose career suffers because he fails to embrace the talkies,and his romance with a rising young female dancer.
It was Hazanavicius’ first Oscar nomination and his first win. He also won the BAFTA and Directors Guild prizes for The Artist,which he also wrote.
I am the happiest director in the world right now,thank you for that,Hazanavicius said.
Prior to The Artist,Hazanavicius’ work in film and television was mostly confined to the French market. He began directing commercials for French television during the 1990s before making his first feature-length movie,Mes Amis,which starred his brother Serge.
Hazanavicius,44,made his first steps into the international film world in 2006 with OSS 17: Cairo,Nest of Spies,a parody of 1960s spy movies that he wrote and directed.
The film won awards at international film festivals in Seattle and Tokyo. He followed up with a sequel in 2009,OSS 117: Lost in Rio. Both films later secured distribution in the United States.
The Artist,which Hazanavicius has described as a homage to the early days of the Hollywood movie industry,received a warm reception at the Cannes Film Festival last year and went on to wow film festival audiences around the world.
Hazanavicius’ wife,Berenice Bejo,plays rising star Peppy Miller in the movie. He turned to kiss Bejo before taking the stage to claim his trophy.
In his acceptance speech,he also made light of the buzz surrounding Uggie,the dog who appears in The Artist and has become one of the most talked-about Hollywood animals in years.
I want to thank Uggie the dog. I think he doesn’t care,I’m not sure he understand what I say. He’s not that good,but thank you,Hazanavicius joked.
Sometimes life is wonderful and today is one of those days,the director added.
Hazanavicius was born and raised in Paris but his grandparents were originally from Lithuania.