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Jean Dujardin: Oscar Winner Strikes OSS 117 Pose

Jean Dujardin Best Actor Oscar
Best Actor Oscar winner Jean Dujardin

Best Actor Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin did his OSS 117 act backstage at the 84th Academy Awards last Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. Dujardin won the Oscar for his portrayal of a fast-fading silent film star in Michel Hazanavicius' Best Picture winner The Artist. Dujardin's two OSS films, OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio, were both directed by Hazanavicius, who also helmed one segment of Dujardin's latest movie, Les Infidèles / The Players. (Image: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.)

Dujardin's Best Actor competition consisted of Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz's A Better Life, George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants, Brad Pitt for Bennett Miller's Moneyball, and Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A first-time Oscar nominee, Dujardin became the first Frenchman to take home an Oscar in the acting categories. (French-born actresses had better luck at the Academy Awards: Claudette Colbert, Simone Signoret, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche.) Prior to the Oscar, Dujardin had already won three other major Best Actor awards: the BAFTA, the SAG Award, and the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical.

Among Dujardin's other movie credits are 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. Among Dujardin's upcoming movies are (purportedly) Eric Rochant's Möbius (possibly co-starring Cécile De France) and Fabrice Camoin's A Stormy Summer Night (possibly also featuring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil).

In addition to Dujardin, The Artist's two-legged 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, and Babe's 1995 Oscar nominee James Cromwell, who is the son of director John Cromwell and actress Kay Johnson, both of whom were working in Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era. The Artist's four-legged star is Golden Collar Award winner Uggie.

Jean Dujardin dancing
Jean Dujardin dancing

Jean Dujardin, winner for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his fast-fading silent film star in Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, practices what looks like some funky dance steps backstage at the 2012 Academy Awards. The Oscar ceremony was held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26. (Image: Richard D. Salyer / © A.M.P.A.S.)

Dujardin's Best Actor competitors were Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz' A Better Life, Brad Pitt for Bennett Miller's Moneyball, Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants. Until Dujardin's SAG Award victory, Clooney was perceived as the favorite to take home the Best Actor Oscar.

Much of Jean Dujardin's backstage chat with journalists was in French. Hence, the Academy transcript is incomplete. Below is the English portion of the q&a, courtesy of AMPAS. Note Dujardin's “I said … Ah, yes. I'm sorry.”

Q. Sir, with your great success in this silent movie, are you concerned with the effort to make a transition into talkies?

A. In America? I'm not American actor. I'm a French actor, and I continue in France and but it's possible. It's … (via an interpreter) If he can make another silent movie in America, he'd like to. He knows he'll always be a French actor in America so he should find roles that, you know, those kinds of roles. But he has a few ideas that he wants to develop.

Q. At the end of your acceptance speech, did you perhaps drop the French equivalent of the F word?

A. I said it's amazing. It's incredible. It's unbelievable. Thank you. Ah, yes. I'm sorry.

Q. And I'm wondering where your four-legged friend is, Uggie, and how you're going to celebrate with him?

A. Uggie? Tonight, Uggie is home in Miami, I think. So but, yes. He went to bed already. [Not so; Uggie could be seen posing with the Artist crowd later that evening. Unless that was his stand-in/stunt double, Dash.]

Q. Hello, Jean. I would like to know what was the process of creating this character and was it any different from the way you created other talking characters?

A. It was not really intellectual, and I'm not an intellectual. No, I watched a lot of movies. Douglas Fairbanks movies, Gene Kelly movies. I had fun pretending to be a movie star in 1920s.

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