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A night of firsts at the Oscars

History was made at the 84th annual Academy Awards last night when, for the first time in 83 years, a silent film took home the prize for 'Best Picture'.'The Artist' triumphed over its hard-hitting contenders 'The Descendants,''The Help,' 'Moneyball,' and'Midnight in Paris,' clenching the title for the night's biggest honor.

Up-and-coming French actor, Jean DuJardin, was later named best actor, adding to the 'The Artist's' five award haul and tying the black-and-white silent cinema homage with Martin Scorceses 3-D family film,'Hugo.'

Another history-making moment, happened Sunday night, when the oldest Oscar winner to date, Christopher Plummer accepted the 'Best Supporting Actor' award for his role in'Beginners.' The 82 year-old, who's just a couple years younger than the awards show itself, joked while staring at his golden trophy, "You're only two years older than me, darling."

Later, a female first timer up for the best supporting role honor, Octavia Spencer of 'The Help', beat out her co-star Jessica Chastain for the award. Shortly thereafter, what many thought would be another win for 'The Help' turned out to be just another trophy for 'The Iron Lady' star, 3-time winner and 17-time Oscar nominee, Meryl Streep.

In a suprising but well-deserved victory over 'The Help's' Viola Davis for the 'Best Actress' title, Streep joked, "When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, 'Oh no, come on. Her? Again?' But, whatever."

It was certainly a night of firsts even for nine-time returning Oscar host, Billy Crystal. Crystal made his comeback to the awards shows' stage for the first time in eight years but was no stranger to the crowd. After a few of his quick-witted one-liners and signature movie montages, Crystal had won audiences with a comical but safe performance.
Overall, this year's Oscars wasn't too unpredictable. A few surprises here. A couple of upsets there. But lots of laughs to go around.

Probably the most memorable moment that no one saw coming, happened before the Oscars even began, on the red carpet, when Sacha Baron Cohen of the upcoming comedy 'The Dictator' spilled an urn of, said to be, ashes on E! host Ryan Seacrest.

Watch WGN's Dean Richard's recap of the Oscars to see the highlights, lowlights, and some of the funniest moments from, host, Billy Crystal.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun