(LATIMES) — “The Artist,” the black-and-white silent film about Hollywood’s rocky transition to the “talkies,” took the biggest honors at the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday night, including best picture, director and lead actor.

It was a night filled with firsts — and an especially good night for the French.

“The Artist” was the first silent film to nab best picture honors since the first Academy Awards were held in 1929, when “Wings” took the top prize. And for the first time in Academy Awards history, a French actor (Jean Dujardin) and a French filmmaker (Michel Hazanavicius) took the academy’s top acting and directing awards.

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