"Amour" captured Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars on Sunday.
The French-language film from Austrian director Michael Haneke depicts an elderly couple struggling to cope with the ravages of old age.
In his speech, Haneke thanked stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, two legends of foreign language cinema, saying that he never would have been on the stage had it not been for their performances.
It was the first Oscar for Haneke, who was previously nominated in 2009 for "The White Ribbon."
Earlier in the evening, Christoph Waltz won the Best Supporting Actor statue for his performance as a charming bounty hunter in "Django Unchained."
In his speech, he thanked his director Quentin Tarantino and fellow nominees. It is the second Oscar for Waltz, who previously earned a statue for his performance as a Nazi officer in "Inglorious Bastards," which was also written and directed by Tarantino.
"I was on a list with the greatest actors around," Waltz said backstage in the press room. "How do you think someone feels when all of a sudden his name is called in that context?"
Seth MacFarlane kicked off the 85th Academy Awards by saying that he only got the hosting gig after everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Ron Jeremy refused the job.
"And the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now," MacFarlane said.
The "Family Guy" creator sent up Hollywood self-aggrandizement, poking fun at the Academy's failure to nominate Ben Affleck and Jean Dujardin's limited English language skills (joking that "The Artist" star couldn't make it in talkies).
The lengthy, over-stuffed opener included musical performances from the gay men's choir of Los Angeles and dancing from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.
There was even a cameo from William Shatner in full James T. Kirk gear from "Star Trek" and a song about actress' who have been naked on film, called "we saw your boobs."
As promised, music factored heavily into the 2013 edition of the Oscars. In addition to MacFarlane's showmanship, there was also a tribute to James Bond's 50 years in films, featuring Dame Shirley Bassey singing the theme from "Goldfinger." Bassey's rendition of the classic 007 anthem brought the crowd at the Dolby Theatre to their feet.
For good measure, there was also a tribute to movie musicals of the past decade featuring performances from the cast of "Les Miserables," Jennifer Hudson of "Dreamgirls" and Catherine Zeta-Jones" representing "Chicago."
Disney dominated the animation awards, picking up Best Animated Feature for "Brave" while "Paperman" won Best Animated Short Film.
"Searching for Sugar Man," the story of a musician's amazing second act, earned the award for Best Documentary" over intense competition from the likes of "How to Survive a Plague" and "The Invisible War."
On the technical front, Claudio Miranda's work capturing the sea voyage of a young man and a tiger in Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" was honored with a Best Cinematography honor, while a team from Rhythm & Hues picked up a statue for their work designing visual effects for the film. The visual effects honor was especially poignant as Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy protection this month.
Bill Westenhofer, a member of the effects team, tried to pay tribute to the company, but was ushered off the stage as the orchestra began playing.
Jacqueline Durran earned her first Oscar for Best Costume Design for capturing the opulence of imperial Russia in "Anna Karenina," while Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell snagged a statue for channeling the grime and poverty of revolutionary France in "Les Miserables."
'Les Miserables" also earned a Best Sound Mixing award for amplifying all the passion, bombast and music of the film adaptation of the Broadway sensation.
"Curfew" won Best Short Film while "Inocente" captured Best Documentary Short Subject.
Many Oscar watchers are bracing for what has been described as one of the tightest races in the history of the awards.
Will "Argo" capture the Best Picture prize or could "Life of Pi" or "Lincoln" stage an upset? Is Daniel Day-Lewis on his way to an unprecedented third Best Actor statue for his uncanny portrayal of Abraham Lincoln? Can Jessica Chastain or Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") stop Jennifer Lawrence's momentum in the Best Actress category?