This year's Best Actor Oscar winner, Jean Dujardin, poses with 2010 Best Actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman backstage at the 2012 Academy Awards Awards, held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26. Dujardin won his Oscar for Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Portman won hers for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. (Image: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.)
Jean Dujardin was a first-time nominee. His Best Actor competition consisted of Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz's A Better Life, Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants, and Brad Pitt for Moneyball.
In the past year, in addition to the Oscar Dujardin took home three major Best Actor awards: the BAFTA, the SAG Award, and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical. Thus, Dujardin became the first actor ever to win all four trophies. Ironically, he lost the French equivalent to the Oscars, the César, to The Intouchables' Omar Sy.
Among Dujardin's movie credits are two James Bond-ish spoofs directed by Michel Hazanavicius: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio. In addition, Dujardin starred or was featured in numerous French productions, among them Ca$h, Brice de Nice / The Brice Man, Lucky Luke and the Daltons, Welcome to the Roses, The Clink of Ice, Little White Lies, and Nicole Garcia's A View of Love, featuring Marie-Josée Croze and Toni Servillo.
Dujardin's The Players opened last week in France. Upcoming projects include Manu Joucla's comedy Le Petit joueur ("The Little Player"), opposite Dujardin's real-life wife, Alexandra Lamy; Eric Rochant's Möbius, possibly co-starring Cécile De France; and, as per rumors, Fabrice Camoin's Orage d'une nuit d'été / A Stormy Summer Night, possibly also featuring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil.
Besides Dujardin, The Artist cast includes Hazanavicius' off-screen companion and OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies leading lady Bérénice Bejo, Barton Fink's John Goodman, Chaplin / The Freshman's Penelope Ann Miller, Miss Nobody's Missi Pyle, A Clockwork Orange / Caligula's Malcolm McDowell, Babe's 1995 Oscar nominee James Cromwell (son of director John Cromwell and actress Kay Johnson, both of whom were in Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era), and Golden Collar Award winner Uggie.