- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2012

PARIS (AP) - France’s president has congratulated Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius for their Academy Awards for “The Artist,” saying the silent black and white film demonstrates the vitality of French cinema.

Nicolas Sarkozy says in a statement Monday the film, which won five Oscars including best picture, “demonstrates the exceptional vitality of our cinema and the success of our policy of supporting the excellence of this great French industry.”

Among other prizes Sunday for the black-and-white comic melodrama were best actor for Dujardin and director for Hazanavicius.

“The Artist” is the first silent winner since the World War I saga “Wings” was named outstanding picture at the first Oscars in 1929.

Dujardin became the first Frenchman to win an acting Oscar. The other wins for “The Artist” were musical score and art direction.

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