Streep's win was an upset over favorite Viola Davis

Oscar night always holds its share of surprises, and this year was no different, with the black-and-white silent film, The Artist, sweeping awards in the highly coveted Best Picture, Best Actor (first-time winner Jean Dujardin), and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) categories, and also nabbing awards for Costume Design and Original Score.

Other unforgettable moments included Meryl Streep accepting her third Academy Award for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, The Help's Octavia Spencer crying her way through her acceptance speech for her Best Supporting Actress win, and Beginners Christopher Plummer who, at 82, made history as the oldest acting Academy Award winner. The previous oldest winner was Jessica Tandy, who nabbed Best Actress for Driving Miss Daisy in 1989 at the ripe ol' age of 80.

The ceremony started out looking like it was going to favor Martin Scorsese's Hugo, but, while the 3D adventure drama swept five of the technical awards — including Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Sound Mixing — it could not hold up against The Artist in the major categories.

Though famed writer / director Woody Allen did not win in the Best Picture category for Midnight in Paris, he did receive a Best Original Screenplay nod for the effort, though he was not there to accept it — a great misfortune, considering the award was introduced by an almost-spread-eagled Angelina Jolie. Allen beat out Kristen Wigg for her Bridesmaids script, though the women from the celebrated comedy did appear all together to present three awards. The trophy for Best Adapted Screenplay went to The Descendents' Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash — another consolation prize for being passed up for a Best Picture win.

Watch Dujardin's spirited win here:

Read a full list of winners here:

* BEST PICTURE – The Artist

* BEST DIRECTOR – Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

* BEST ACTOR – Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

* BEST ACTRESS – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)

* SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Octavia Spencer (The Help)

* SUPPORTING ACTOR – Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

* CINEMATOGRAPHY – Hugo

* FILM EDITING – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Australian Kirk Baxter)

* ART DIRECTION – Hugo

* COSTUME DESIGN – The Artist

* MAKE-UP – The Iron Lady

* FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – A Separation (Iran)

* ANIMATED FEATURE FILM – Rango

* ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Midnight in Paris

* ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – The Descendants

* VISUAL EFFECTS – Hugo

* MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE) – Ludovic Bource (The Artist)

* MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG) – Man or Muppet, from The Muppets (New Zealander Bret McKenzie)

* SOUND EDITING – Hugo

* SOUND MIXING – Hugo

* DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) – Undefeated

* DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) – Saving Face

* SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) – The Shore

* SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

OSCAR WINNERS PREVIOUSLY PRESENTED THIS SEASON:

* Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award – Oprah Winfrey

* Honorary Award – James Earl Jones

* Honorary Award – Dick Smith

* Gordon E Sawyer Award – Douglas Trumbull

* Award of Merit – ARRI cameras

You may also enjoy:

EXCLUSIVE: The Artist's Berenice Bejo Felt Like A Ghost

OSCARS: Viola Davis, Jean Dujardin Favored To Win

Viola Davis, Jean Dujardin Win Screen Actors Guild Awards

BAFTAs: Jean Dujardin

Jean Dujardin Brings Dog To 'Artist' Premiere

BAFTAs: Octavia Spencer

Globes 2012: Octavia Spencer

Viola Davis, George Clooney Win Critics' Choice Awards

Oscar Nominations 2012: George Clooney, 'The Artist' Honored

Go Backstage At The Oscars With Oscar.com

Billy Crystal To Step In As Oscars Host

Jennifer Lawrence To Announce Oscar Nominations