Oh, no – not her again," was what winner Meryl Streep feared those inside L.A.'s Hollywood & Highland Center were thinking on Oscar night. Was she ever wrong.
The actress, who's been nominated a historic 17 times, won the Best Actress Oscar at Sunday's 84th annual Academy Awards for The Iron Lady, in which she played former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
When all the gold dust had settled, Hugo went home with five technical Oscars, but the big winner in the major categories was The Artist, which, among its five awards, was named Best Picture of the Year.
The captivating $12 million, mostly silent, black-and-white movie also took the honors for director Michel Hazanavicius, its costume design, musical score and, in his introduction to American audiences, its leading man, Jean Dujardin, who was named Best Actor.
"Merci beau coup, I love you!" the handsome Frenchman, 36, shouted. "I love your country." Before practically losing his breath, Dujardin went on to tell his wife, actress Alexandra Larny, "I love you."
The Actress race was perceived to be between Viola Davis in The Help andStreep, who was also the Golden Globe and BAFTA winner for the role. Streep's two previous Oscars were for Kramer Vs. Kramer (Supporting Actress) and Sophie's Choice (Actress).
Octavia Spencer, from The Help, was named Best Supporting Actress earlier in the evening. Christopher Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for The Beginners. In his acceptance speech he noted that, at 82, he is only two years younger than Oscar.
Dujardin's closest competition was believed to be The Descendants starGeorge Clooney, who played a cuckolded husband whose wife is dying in director Alexander Payne's drama set in Hawaii. On the Oscar red carpet, Clooney, 50, told ABC, "I have a feeling at the end of the Best Actor race, you're going to hear someone speaking French."
Alexander Payne's The Descendants and Woody Allen's Midnight in Pariswere honored, for their adapted and original screenplays, respectively.
LIST OF WINNERS
1. Best Picture: "The Artist."
2. Actor: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist."
3. Actress: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady."
4. Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners."
5. Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, "The Help."
6. Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist."
7. Foreign Language Film: "A Separation," Iran.
8. Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, "The Descendants."
9. Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris."
10. Animated Feature Film: "Rango."
11. Art Direction: "Hugo."
12. Cinematography: "Hugo."
13. Sound Mixing: "Hugo."
14. Sound Editing: "Hugo."
15. Original Score: "The Artist."
16. Original Song: "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets."
17. Costume Design: "The Artist."
18. Documentary Feature: "Undefeated."
19. Documentary Short: "Saving Face."
20. Film Editing: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
21. Makeup: "The Iron Lady."
22. Animated Short Film: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
23. Live Action Short Film: "The Shore."
24. Visual Effects: "Hugo.
Culled from PEOPLE.COM