Chicago and The Pianist triumph at 75th Oscars ceremony

Story by Jack Foley

ROB Marshall and Catherine Zea-Jones were the toast of Hollywood today, as Chicago took six awards at this year's Oscars ceremony, including Best Film and Best Supporting Actress.

The musical had already performed well at both the Golden Globe and Bafta award ceremonies, and made it a hat-trick of significant successes at the 75th Annual Academy Awards ceremony.

In what proved to be a more sombre affair than usual, due to the ongoing conflict in Iraq and the heightened security surrounding the ceremony itself, Zeta-Jones thanked her husband, Michael Douglas, and her family and friends for helping her along the path to success.

The film itself also won awards for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Editing.

In what proved to be a surprising awards ceremony, several of the leading contenders went home empty-handed. Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, for example, missed out on several major honours.

The Best Actor honour, which had looked like being a straight fight between its star, Daniel Day-Lewis, and About Schmidt's Jack Nicholson, went instead to The Pianist star, Adrien Brody; while Roman Polanski pipped Martin Scorsese to the Best Director statuette.

Brody's triumph meant that another Briton, Sir Michael Caine, also missed out, while Polanski's win edged out Britain's Stephen Daldry, who had been nominated for The Hours.

The Hours did, however, pick up a major award for one of its stars, Nicole Kidman, who accepted the Best Actress award for her performance as Virginia Woolf (prosthetic nose, and all).

In the Best Supporting Actor category, Chris Cooper deservedly picked up the gold statuette for his barnstorming performance in Adaptation.

Of the other notable winners on the night, seven-times Oscar-nominee, Peter O'Toole, was given an honorary award by the Academy for his contribution to cinema history.

The Irish-born and British educated actor, who has appeared in such classic as Lawrence of Arabia and Goodbye Mr Chips, had been reluctant at first to pick up the honour because he said he still wanted the chance to win one outright. But during his acceptance speech, he maintained that he was indeed 'honoured' to receive it.

This year's ceremony was, however, overshadowed by events elsewhere in the world and was deliberately kept shorter than usual, with less emphasis placed on the dresses worn by female stars.

Host, Steve Martin, still ensured that it was an entertaining show, cracking jokes at the expense of the Hollywood audience, but security was noticeably tighter, with a National Guard unit brought in to protect the ceremony and protesters using the event to express their opinions outside of the venue.

Some stars even took the opportunity to protest against the Iraqi conflict in their speeches, with The Pianist star, Brody, calling upon people to remember the human cost of war, while Kidman said even in a time of crisis art was still important.

The most controversial speech of the night, however, came from film-maker, Michael Moore, who condemned President George Bush and the Iraqi War, while collecting his best documentary award for Bowling for Columbine. The popular performer has consistently objected to the action against Iraq and his website contains an open letter to the US President outlining the reasons why his actions should be deplored.

Other winners of note on the night included Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar, who picked up the best original screenplay for Talk To Her, while the best adapted screenplay went to The Pianist.

Best Visual Effects went to Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, while Best Foreign Film was named as Germany's Nowhere in Africa.

Controversial hip-hop star, Eminem, also picked up an award for his song, Lose Yourself, taken from the soundtrack to his film, 8 Mile.

The winners in full:
Best picture - Chicago

Also nominated:
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Pianist
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best director - Roman Polanski (The Pianist)
Also nominated:
Stephen Daldry (The Hours)
Rob Marshall (Chicago)
Pedro Almodovar (Talk To Her)
Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York)

Best actor - Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
Also nominated:
Nicolas Cage (Adaptation)
Sir Michael Caine (The Quiet American)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)
Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)

Best actress - Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
Also nominated:
Salma Hayek (Frida)
Diane Lane (Unfaithful)
Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven)
Renèe Zellweger (Chicago)

Best supporting actress - Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
Also nominated:
Kathy Bates (About Schmidt)
Queen Latifah (Chicago)
Julianne Moore (The Hours)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation)

Best supporting actor - Chris Cooper (Adaptation)
Also nominated:
Ed Harris (The Hours)
Paul Newman (Road to Perdition)
John C Reilly (Chicago)
Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can)

Best music (song) - Lose Yourself by Eminem (8 Mile)
Also nominated:
Burn it Blue (Frida)
Father and Daughter by Paul Simon (The Wild Thornberry's Movie)
The Hands That Built America by U2 (Gangs of New York)
I Move On (Chicago)

Best adapted screenplay - The Pianist
Also nominated:
About a Boy
Adaptation
Chicago
The Hours

Best original screenplay - Pedro Almodovar - Talk to Her
Also nominated:
Far From Heaven
Gangs of New York
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Y tu Mama Tambien

Best animated film - Spirited Away
Also nominated:
Ice Age
Lilo & Stitch
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Treasure Planet

Best visual effects - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Also nominated:
Spider-Man
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Best art direction - Chicago
Also nominated:
Frida
Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Road To Perdition

Best animated short film - The Chubbchubbs!
Also nominated:
The Cathedral
Das Rad
Mike's New Car
Mt Head

Best short film - This Charming Man (Der er en Yndig Mand)
Also nominated:
Fait D'Hiver
I'll Wait for the Next One
Inja (Dog)
Johnny Flynton

Best costume design - Chicago
Also nominated:
Frida
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Pianist

Best makeup - Frida
Also nominated:
The Time Machine

Best original score - Frida (Elliot Goldenthal)
Also nominated:
Catch Me If You Can (John Williams)
Far From Heaven (Elmer Bernstein)
The Hours (Philip Glass)
Road to Perdition (Thomas Newman)

Best foreign language film - Nowhere in Africa (Germany)

Also nominated:
El Crimen del Padre Almaro (Mexico)
Hero (China)
The Man Without a Past (Finland)
Zus & Zo (The Netherlands)

Best sound - Chicago
Also nominated:
Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Road to Perdition
Spider-Man

Best documentary - Bowling For Columbine
Also nominated:
Daughter From Danang
Prisoner of Paradise
Spellbound
Winged Migration

Best documentary short - Twin Towers
Also nominated:
The Collector of Bedford Street
Mighty Times: The Legend of Rosa Parks
Why Can't We Be a Family Again?

Best cinematography - Conrad L Hall for Road to Perdition
Also nominated:
Chicago
Far From Heaven
Gangs Of New York
The Pianist

Best editing - Chicago
Also nominated:
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Pianist

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