Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy accepting the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for their movie Saving Face during the 84th Annual Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Centre in California. Image Credit: EPA

Dubai: The Oscars dazzled with a red-carpet flourish of diamonds and a song-and-dance show straight from the heart of American showbiz, but on Monday the Academy also opened the door to the world with a series of international firsts, recognising the UAE, Pakistan, Iran and France with awards.

French silent film The Artist was the big winner with five awards, including best picture and, in a first for a French actor, best actor for its star, Jean Dujardin.

US actress Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress Oscar for her role in The Help, which was co-produced by Abu Dhabi's ImageNation.

Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy found herself celebrated on both sides of the world after her short documentary, Saving Face, nabbed the nation's first Oscar.

The film follows a British-Pakistani plastic surgeon who treats women disfigured by acid attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Obaid-Chinoy would receive a civil award.

Iranian film A Separation won best foreign language feature, the country's first Oscar, prompting state media to declare the win a victory for Iranian culture.

"Iran cinema made history," the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said. A deputy culture minister in charge of cinema affairs, Javad Shamaqdari, was quoted by IRNA saying the US Academy Awards members "bowed before Iranian culture" by voting for A Separation over an Israeli movie nominated in the same category.

The film's director, Asghar Farhadi, however, emphasised culture over politics in his acceptance speech.