Find out more about A Separation, winner of Best Foreign Language Film, and how Jean Dujardin got away with swearing in French on live TV.

The 84th Annual Academy Awards ceremony took place last night, and this year’s Oscars provided lots of language and translation talking points.

Best foreign language film is first from Iran

The Best foreign language film category was won by A Separation, the first film from Iran to win the award. The success has prompted national celebration in Iran, and millions of Iranians stayed up through the night to see director Asghar Farhadi collect the award. The award offers temporary relief for a country shrouded in the shadows of war and economic sanctions, and the string of trophies picked up at numerous awards already has provided Farhadi with a pivotal platform in which he has almost become an ambassador for peace. In his acceptance speech last night, he said:

“At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy,” said Farhadi, while accepting the Oscar. “At the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

He added: “I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilisations and despise hostility and resentment.”

The ceremony was not actually broadcast live in Iran, but many watched it illegally online and others live blogged updates from the event and shared clips of Farhadi’s speech. Although A Separation has not been publically denounced by officials in Iran, the film has not proved so popular amongst state authorities. The film was produced with permission from the Iranian government, but its widespread success abroad, especially in the US, did not go down well with supporters of the Islamic regime, who believe the award offers mixed signals in contrast to the economic sanctions imposed by the American government.

First French actor to win award apologises for cursing

Meanwhile, silent movie star Jean Dujardin has landed himself in a spot of bother, for something he did say – albeit in French – during his acceptance speech.

A film with no verbal language – The Artist – was the major success story of this year’s Oscars, picking up five awards, including best picture, best director and best actor. Dujardin, who plays lead male George Valentin in the film, is the first French actor to pick up the award, and Dujardin’s excitement was evident. As he stood on the stage clasping his award, he invoked the character that has made him famous and declared: “If George Valentin could speak, he would say ‘Wow! Victorie! Genial! Merci!'” One of the exclamations provoked alarm amongst French translators backstage, who believed he had inadvertently used the F word, but the remark slipped by the TV censors.

When asked about it later, Dujardin simply reiterated his joy at winning the award: “It’s amazing, it’s incredible, it’s unbelievable. Thank you,” he explained before his translator interrupted and clarified the question. Grinning, he said, “Yeah. I’m sorry.”

Dujardin has previously relied on interpreters at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and other awards.

In th film, he plays a silent movie star who falls from grace as talking language pictures, or ‘talkies’, are introduced and the beautiful startlet he once aided upstages him. Rather bizarrely, Dujardin – who is referred to as the French George Clooney – failed to win the same category at the Cesar awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars. Talking to the press after the ceremony last night, Dujardin downplayed any attempts to make it big in Hollywood: “I’m not American actor. I’m a French actor. [I’ll] continue in France,” Dujardin said.

His translator offered some clarification: “If he can make another silent movie in America, he’d like to.”

Image from Dave B