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Jean Dujardin is a French actor and comedian. He is the first French actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor, for his performance in the 2011 film The Artist.
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Jean Dujardin was born on June 19, 1972 in Rueil-Malmaison, France, a suburb of Paris. After serving in the military, Dujardin began writing and performing stand-up comedy in bars. He joined the comedy group "Nous C Nous," was discovered, and then played the male lead in Un gars, une fille, a French television series that ran from 1999-2003. In 2011, he won an Oscar for Best Actor in The Artist.
"I am too Parisian. And I think the French would be angry if I left. I hope they would be angry."
"I discovered that silent film is almost an advantage. You just have to think of the feeling for it to show. No lines pollute it. It doesn't take much—a gaze, an eyelash flutter—for the emotion to be vivid."
Born as Jean Edmond Dujardin on June 19, 1972 in Rueil-Malmaison, France, Jean Dujardin was raised in the western suburb of Paris. He worked for his parents' construction company upon finishing high school, and then served his mandatory military service. When Dujardin was 24 years old, he began writing and performing stand-up comedy sketches in bars in Paris. He did not attend college and had no formal acting training. Later he would say that his coming to an acting career was "accidental."
In 1995, Dujardin met Carré blanc theater members Bruno Salomone, Eric Collado, Emmanuel Joucia and Eric Massot, with whom he formed the comedy group "Nous C Nous." The group appeared on the French talent show Graines de star in 1996. It was on that show that Dujardin was first discovered. Three years later, he was selected for the male lead in Un gars, une fille, a romantic-comedy television series that ran from 1999 through 2003 in France.
When Dujardin landed the leading role in Brice de Nice, a popular comedic film about a wannabe surfer who parties on the French Riviera, he became a star. He then played a racist, sexist secret agent in the comedy OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, for which he received an Etoile d'Or Award and a Cesar Award nomination for Best Actor.
Dujardin's first dramatic role was in the 2007 film Contre-enquête, in which he played a father and cop. After the sequel OSS 117: Lost in Rio and lead roles in a few other films, in 2011 Dujardin starred in the silent film The Artist, a French romantic comedy that takes place in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932. Both The Artist and Dujardin received massive critical acclaim; the film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture. Dujardin won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, the BAFTA and an Academy Award, all for Best Actor. In his acceptance speech, Dujardin said that he loved America and swore in French, and later apologized for the expletive. French television ran his acceptance speech on a loop.
Dujardin is the fifth French actor to win an Oscar, and the first for Best Actor.
Dujardin is beloved in France and is known for being a good father and husband. Although he has been divorced once, he married Alexandra Lamy, his co-star in Un gars, une fille, in 2009. Dujardin has two sons, Simon and Jules, and Lamy has a daughter, all from previous relationships. Many in France consider their relationship to represent the modern French recomposed family, one that is simple, down to earth, and equal when it comes to career choices.
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With its natural splendor and key geographic location, France has forever been the destination of marauding hordes—whether they be sword-wielding barbarians or camera-toting tourists. However, these Frenchmen and Frenchwomen have extended their influence outward, beyond the borders of the Hexagone, through art, invention and philosophy. C'etait magnifique, or, as deemed by the aforementioned title, fantastically French.
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