"A Separation" captured Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
The Iranian film's director Asghar Farhadi thanked the people of his native country, specifically "the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."
The broadcast kicked off Sunday night with a film parody featuring Billy Crystal and many of the Best Picture nominees.
But it wasn't long before Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" took an early lead in the early production awards.
The first two awards of the evening was for cinematography and art direction went, not to perceived front-runner "The Artist," but to "Hugo"s' Robert Richardson for "Hugo" and Dante Ferretti.
The silent film got itself on the board, however, with an award for its 1920s costumes and the work of Mark Bridges.
Transforming Meryl Streep into British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland a statue for their work on "The Iron Lady."
Crystal took the stage at the theater formerly known as the Kodak and revived his typical musical melody featuring the top films vying for honors.
As he had in eight previous hosting stints, Crystal gently ribbed Hollywood egos and the event's pomposity, without really going for the jugular.
"Nothing can take the sting out of the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues," Crystal said.
With a nod to the Kodak Theater's impending name change and the namesake company's recent bankruptcy, Crystal quipped, "We're here at the beautiful Chapter 11 theater.”
It marks the Oscar veteran's first hosting gig since 2004.
Momentum seems to be with "The Artist," which is widely expected to capture the Best Picture statue -- especially after its four wins Saturday night at the Indie Spirit Awards -- but there are always surprises at every Oscar show.
Will Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking 3D film "Hugo" be an upset winner? Will Meryl Streep pick up her first Best Actress Oscar in three decades for her uncanny portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady"? Does Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") have a lock on Best Supporting Actor or will fellow octogenarian Max von Sydow score a come-from-behind victory?
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