The countdown to The 85th Annual Academy Awards is on, and we're taking a look back at four great moments from the last two years, when Colin Firth, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer and Jean Dujardin picked up their Oscar gold.
In being named Best Actor for The Artist at the 84th Academy Awards, French star Dujardin bested tough competition in George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Demián Bichir (A Better Life). "I love your country," said an overjoyed Dujardin. "So many of you here tonight have inspired me. If [my character] George Valentin could speak right now, he'd say, 'Merci! Formidable! Merci beaucoup, I love you!'"
Slightly stunned, Firth was named Best Actor at the 83rd Academy Awards for his portrayal of stammering King George VI of Britain in The King's Speech, besting fellow nominees Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco. "I have a feeling my career's just peaked," joked Firth, whose thanks extended to his co-stars, "whose virtuosity made it very difficult for me to be as bad as I intended to be," as well as his wife Livia, for enduring his "fleeting delusions of royalty."
At the 84th Academy Awards, legendary octogenarian Plummer trumped Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Nick Nolte (Warrior) and fellow 82-year-old Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) for Best Supporting Actor. The Beginners star, who is now in the record books as the oldest actor to win the Golden Boy, faced his gleaming statuette and joked, "You're only two years older than me, darling, where have you been all my life?"
And at the 83rd Academy Awards, The Fighter star Bale bested fellow nominees John Hawkes, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Geoffrey Rush. Declaring, "Bloody hell -- what a room full of talented and inspirational people, and what the hell am I doing here?" Bale gave a shout-out to Dicky Ecklund, the real-life pugilist he portrayed, telling the audience, "He's had a wonderful story, and I can't wait to see the next chapter," then went on to promote Dicky as a trainer and even gave out his web address. Before departing the stage, Bale got a bit choked up in thanking his wife, "my mast through our storms of life," and their daughter.
The 85th Academy Awards will air live from Hollywood on Oscar Sunday, February 24, 2013 on ABC.