As of his first televised success in 1993, La Classe américaine (aka Le Grand Détournement), Michel Hazanavicius began to play with codes and genres, highjacking the dialogues of well known films of the years 1950 to 1980. His taste for pastiche was already evident. After a first short film (Echec au capital) and several collaborations on scripts, he shot in 1999 his first feature, Mes amis.
In 2006, he directed his second feature, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. The free and parodicial spirit of the film led to great success both at the box-office and with the critics. Jean Dujardin portrayed in it a barely academic agent, found in the just as unbridled and acclaimed follow-up, OSS 117: Lost in Rio.
In 2010, Michel Hazanavicius directed a silent film in black-and-white, The Artist, retracing the story of an American silent-picture star (played by Jean Dujardin), confronted with the arrival of the talkies. Jean Dujardin received for his performance the Best Actor's Award at Cannes in 2011. On 24 February 2012 Michel Hazanavicius was honoured with the César for Best Director for The Artist which won five other trophies, including that of Best Film and Best Actress (for Bérénice Bejo). In 2012, Michel Hazanavicius won the Oscar for Best Director for The Artist, becoming the second French director, nine years after Roman Polanski, to win this prestigious award. Five Oscars were awarded in all to his feature, including Best Film and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. The film, sold worldwide, received an outstanding welcome.
In 2012, Michel Hazanavicius directed a segment of the sketch film, The Players.