The little film that could, The Artist was the toast of Hollywood last night as it took home the biggest prize of them all: the Oscar for Best Picture.

It was a remarkable triumph for a black-and-white silent film, starring two largely unknown french actors. Many of the cast spoke in the buildup of their low levels of expectation for the film, stating that they didn't even think it would be shown in the U.S. let alone become the nation's most celebrated movie.

Chronicling a celebrated silent actor's battle to come to terms with the new era of the talkies, The Artist became the first silent movie to win since the first year of the Oscars in 1929, when Wings took home the big prize.

Up on stage, Michel Hazanavicius, who had earlier picked up the Director award, paid tribute to his leading lady, both in the film, and in his personal life.

You inspired the movie, you're the soul of the movie and the positive feeling of the movie, he said to his wife Berenice Bejo.

While Bejo missed out on the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, The Artist collected a total of five awards on the night, including one of the big acting prizes. The film's star Jean Dujardin beating out George Clooney for Best Actor.

The Artist's haul matched that of it's big competitor in terms of nominations. Hugo. Martin Scorsese's family adventure went into the evening up for 11 awards, compared to The Artist's 10. But, while The Artist took home the top prizes, Hugo was forced to settle for five awards in the technical categories, including for cinematography.

The cast, as well as Hazanavicius and producer Thomas Langmann piled on stage as the Oscars closed with The Artist's triumph. A part of the celebrations were American actors James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller and Missy Pyle. And even the unheralded star of the film Uggie the dog, wearing an 18 carat gold and satin Chopard bow tie, was rightfully there to share in the limelight.

With Uggie unable to convey his thoughts on proceedings, it was left to Hazanavicius to sum up the overriding message of his film.

I want to thank the crazy person who put money in that movie, he said. It is full of life and bring us joy and happiness. Sometimes life is wonderful, and today is one of those days.

But, perhaps the most apt words of all came from Dujardin, who's phenomenally charismatic and heart-rendering portrayal of George Valentin carried the film and struck a chord with movie-goers the world over.

If George Valentin could speak, he enthusiastically began, he'd say...'Merçi! Formidable! Merçi beaucoup! Thank you very much!'