The Academy paid tribute to its own roots by awarding the black and white film, which triumphed over the big names like Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, to win the top award. The last silent film to win the best picture Oscar was "Wings" in 1929.
Director Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin walked away with the best director and actor trophies.
"I am the happiest director in the world. I want to thank the financier, the crazy person who put money in the movie," said Hazanavicius, 44.
"The Artist" beat eight rivals for the top prize, including Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and "The Help". Scorsese's "Hugo" tied up with "The Artist" by winning five trophies in technical categories on Sunday night.
Streep, the most nominated actress in the Academy history with 17 nods, looked dazzling as she accepted her third Oscar and her first in the last 30 years for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."
The 62-year-old star previously won for 1979 film "Kramer vs Kramer" and 1982's "Sophie's Choice".
"Oh my God! thank you so much. When they called my name, I had the feeling I could hear half of America going, 'oh, come on, her again?," Streep said while accepting the statuette to a standing ovation.
"I really understand I'll never be up here again," Streep said as she thanked her husband, make-up artist and friends.
Dujardin, who plays silent hero George Valentin who fades as talkies make their presence felt in Hollywood, beat George Clooney and Brad Pitt to win the best actor honour.
"Oh! thank you. I love your country," said 39-year-old Dujardin as he thanked silent movie star Douglas Fairbanks for inspiration. © http://post.jagran.com/