Jean Dujardin, 2012 Best Actor Oscar winner for his performance as a fading silent film star in Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, kisses wife Alexandra Lamy at the post-Oscar ceremony Governors Ball on Feb. 26, 2012. Dujardin found fame after co-starring with Lamy on the television series Un gars, une fille (“A guy, a Girl”). (Image: © A.M.P.A.S.)
Dujardin not only became the first Frenchman to win an Oscar in the acting categories, but he also became the first Oscar winner (on record, at least) to say the French equivalent of the exclamation (not the verb) fuck! — putain!. Perhaps because most Americans wouldn't know the difference between putain, pute (“whore”), or the English verb “to put,” ABC didn't bother bleeping or muting Dujardin's, huh, exuberance. (Last year's Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo is the first person on record to say some variation of the word “fuck” while accepting an Oscar.)
Below is Dujardin's Oscar acceptance speech, courtesy of AMPAS.
Thank you. Oui! [In reply to someone yelling in the audience.] I love your country.
Thank you to the Academy. It's funny because in 1929 it wasn't Billy Crystal, but Douglas Fairbanks who hosted the first Oscar ceremony. Tickets cost five dollars and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed. So thank you Douglas Fairbanks.
Yes, Melissa, your grandfather's [Fairbanks'] spirit and joie de vivre inspired me for this role. And so many of you here tonight have inspired me. Thank you Michel, thank you for this incredible gift. Thank you my wonderful partner Bérénice Bejo. Thank you the wonderful cast and crew. My wife, I love you. Kisses Simon, Jules, Chloé [Dujardin's sons with his first wife, and daughter with Lamy]. And if George Valentin could speak, he'd say, 'Putain! Génial! Merci! Formidable! Merci beaucoup.' I love you.
Ironically, it took a Frenchman to mention Douglas Fairbanks, one of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founders, for the first time at an Oscar ceremony in (quite possibly) the last seventy years. (Most present at the ex-Kodak Theater probably had never heard of him.) Fairbanks' grandiose style was also a clear inspiration for Dujardin's George Valentin in the movie.