HOLLYWOOD, CA ( ABC NEWS.com) "The Artist" was the big winner at the 84th annual Academy Awards, taking home Oscars for best picture, best director and its star Jean Dujardins, who won over George Clooney, in the battle of the charmers.
In the best actress race, considered by many to be the biggest tossup of the night, Meryl Streep won over Viola Davis for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."
"When they called my mind I had this feeling that I could hear half of America going 'Oh, no. Why her, again?' But, whatever," said Streep after winning her third Oscar, though she's been nominated 17 times -- the most of any actor.
In an emotional speech, Streep thanked her husband for "everything I value most in my life" and her makeup artist Roy Helland, who has been with her since the start of her career and won his first Oscar Sunday night for "The Iron Lady."
Bringing tears to the eyes of many in the audience, Streep said she values most the friendship of the people sitting before her. "I lookout here and I see my life before my eyes -- my old friends and my new friends."
Dujardin also thanked the new friends he's made in America since "The Artist."
"I love your country," Dujardin said, accepting his trophy and doing a little soft shoe as he exited the stage.
Clooney had a slight edge over Dujardin on the index, and "Puss and Boots" had been expected to win for animated feature, not "Rango," which took home the Oscar, but otherwise the index got the other winners right.
There were no surprises in the supporting actor categories, as both Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer had been expected to win -- including by the Oscar Stock Market Index.
Spencer accepted the award for best supporting actress with tears, thanking the entire state of Alabama, her family, her "Help" family.
"I'm wrapping up, I'm sorry, I'm freaking out," she said, dissolving into tears before walking off stage.
Following Spencer's win, host Billy Crystal joked that after he saw "The Help," he wanted to "hug the first black woman that I saw. From Beverly Hills, that's about a 45 minute drive."
Plummer, at 82, became the oldest actor, to ever win an Oscar for "Beginners." "You're only two years older than me, darling -- where have you been all my life?" he said to his Oscar.
It one of the best speeches of the night, he thanked his "long-suffering" wife whom he said deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for being with him.
"Hugo" was an early winner, claiming the first two prizes for cinematography and art direction.
"The Descendants" won for best adapted screenplay, and, as expected, Woody Allen did not show up to collect his prize for best original screenplay for "Midnight in Paris."
"Undefeated," produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs, won for best feature documentary, while "Saving Face," about a plastic surgeon who aids Pakistani women who are victims of acid attacks, won for best documentary short.
"A Separation" gave Iran its first Oscar for best foreign language film.
The show was a throwback to years past with heavyweight producer Brian Grazer at the helm and Billy Crystal as host. Grazer spoke on the red carpet before the show of keeping the show entertaining but classy.
Crystal, hosting for the ninth time, managed to do that, bringing back his song and dance medley of the best picture nominees and injecting himself into a montage of some last year's most memorable films.