Despite an overriding sense of inevitability, the 84th annual Academy Awards had its share of memorable moments (including a hilarious faux-film of a 1939 "focus group" critiquing "The Wizard of Oz," courtesy of Christopher Guest and company).
"I love your country," Dujardin said, holding up his award for his portrayal of fictional silent-film star George Valentin.
"If George Valentin could speak, he’d say, "Formidable! Merci beaucoup," he said, using French words for "terrific" and "thank you very much."
Many speeches were heartfelt or moving, but here are five that stood out.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Alexander Payne, co-writer/director of "The Descendants" - who previously won for 2004's "Sideways" — collected his film's only award of the evening alongside co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rush by first thanking "our beautiful Hawaiian flower, Kaui Hart Hemmings, wrote wrote the novel." Payne then pointed out his mom, who came to L.A. from Omaha for the event and who, Payne said, "made me promise that if I ever won another Academy Award, that I'd have to dedicate it to her, just like Javier Bardem did with HIS mother. Thanks for letting me skip nursery school so we could go to the movies."
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer, genuinely moved and shaken by her walk to the stage to accept her Oscar, breaks down while thanking her real family "and my 'Help' family." Despite winning at SAG and the Golden Globes, the impact of an Oscar isn't lost on this 39-year-old working actress.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, the first filmmaker from his country to win this award, makes a from-the-gut, eloquent, thoughtful acceptance speech in which he states Iran is "a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under politics… I kindly offer this award to the people of my country , a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."
BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin, the underdog who defeated George Clooney — and the first Frenchman to win the award — gives an ebullient acceptance speech, starting with "I love your country!" and winds up with a sincere, nearly-shouted "Merci! Merci beaucoup!"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: With his manner as smooth and warm as his velvet tuxedo, the ever-elegant 82-year-old Christopher Plummer — the newly minted oldest Oscar winner ever — takes the stage. "You're only two years older than me — where have you been all my life?" he coos at his statuette. Complimentary, witty and self-effacing, the onetime "Sound of Music" co-star thanks his fellow nominees, his director and co-star, his daughter Amanda Plummer, and his wife, "who deserves a Nobel Peace prize for coming to my rescue every day."