The Only Silent Film That Won Best Picture At The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards have picked the best films of the year for almost all of Hollywood's history. Today, there are awards for best screenplay, score, and many other aspects of modern filmmaking. But in the beginning, the awards weren't even called "Oscars." At first, there were fewer awards to distribute, although best picture, actor, and actress have always been a part of it, according to History.

There is one modern Oscar winner that's usually considered a silent film. "The Artist," a black-and-white film about a silent movie actor learning to adjust during the transition to talkies, took home the best picture award in 2012 (via IMDb). But unlike true silent films, there is some sound in "The Artist." The movie includes a score (ironically enough) and sound effects, according to the Oscars Awards Database, as well as some dialogue at the end. It triumphed over a field of nominees that included such works as "The Help," "Hugo," and "Moneyball" (per the Oscars website).

What about The Artist?

"The Artist" heavily pulls from the era when silent films ruled the screens. It includes scenes and sequences that reference past silent films, according to IMDb, and (according to Movies Silently) it even uses music from the score of Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." While it might not be a completely silent movie, it did reach some other Oscars milestones. The lead actor, Jean Dujardin, became the first-ever French actor to win the best actor award, according to IMDb, and it was the first (mostly) silent film to win for best director, score, costume, and actor.

Perhaps there are more Oscar categories now because there's more going on in movies today. But movies brought to the first ceremony in 1929 were completely silent, according to History, which means there wouldn't be much of a point in some of the categories we know today. As the International Business Times reports, the first-ever best picture winner was a big-budget film (nearly two-and-a-half hours long) about World War I pilots, titled "Wings." To this day, it's the only fully silent film to have ever won the award (then called the "most outstanding production"), according to the Oscars Awards Database. "Wings" was actually lost for many years until a fragile print was discovered in the 1960s in a Paris film archive, reports the International Business Times.