Oscars 2012: Michel Hazanavicius Named Best Director for ‘The Artist’

Hazanavicius became the Oscar favorite after beating Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, David Fincher and Martin Scorsese for the DGA Award

Michel Hazanavicius has won the Oscar for Best Director for his largely silent, black-and-white film "The Artist."

Hazanavicius, a 44-year-old Frenchman little known in the United States before "The Artist," beat a formidable lineup of acclaimed directors: Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo").

Also readThe Complete List of Oscar Winners

He became the clear Oscar favorite in late January, when he beat Allen, Payne, Scorsese and David Fincher to win the DGA Award, an honor that has gone to the Oscar winner in all but six of the 63 years it has been in existence.

Hazanavicius' previous movies include his 1999 debut, "Mes amis," and two secret-agent spoofs that were big hits in Europe, "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies" and "OSS 117: Lost in Rio," both of which starred "The Artist's" lead actor Jean Dujardin.

"It makes something very special when you are in the theater watching a silent movie," Hazanavicius told TheWrap. "The way that you participate in the storytelling process, that really attracted me."

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