"I love your country," the handsome Frenchman said while accepting his trophy. He had previously won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA and Independent Spirit awards. He's the first French-born actor to win the award.
In the Best Picture-favorite, Dujardin played George Valentin, a silent film star coming to terms with his seeming irrelevance at the dawn of talkies. The nearly silent performance -- Dujardin utters only one phrase, at the film's end -- required the 39-year-old star not only to affect the acting style of silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin but also to tap dance.
Dujardin's biggest competition for the award came from George Clooney, who played a downtrodden dad in "The Descendants." Other nominees in the category included Brad Pitt ("Moneyball"), Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") and Demian Bichir ("A Better Life").
CORRECTION: An earlier version stated that Dujardin was the second French-born actor to win an Oscar; he's actually the fifth, but first male to do so.