Hollywood rolled out a somber red carpet at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, as many of the nominees and presenters kept a low key profile because of the current war with Iraq.
In the place of reporters and paparazzi, a military presence was felt at the Kodak Theatre protecting the notable celebrities at the event. Antiwar protesters also made their presence known, demonstrating on streets adjacent to the theater.
Big winners of the evening included the films “Chicago,” receiving six Oscars, “The Pianist,” with three wins, and “Frida” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” each winning two statuettes.
As expected, “Chicago” garnered praise for Catherine Zeta-Jones as Best Supporting Actress, as well as nods for Best Picture, Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound and Film Editing. The 2003 film is the first musical film to win a Best Picture Oscar since “Oliver!” in 1968.
Nicole Kidman took the Oscar away for Best Actress in a Lead Role, while Adrian Brody left with a Best Actor award for his performance in “The Pianist.” The film’s director, Roman Polanski won Best Director but could not attend the ceremony for legal reasons. Polanski, a fugitive from the United States, could not leave his native France due to possible arrest if he entered the country, stemming from his 1979 guilty plea to raping a young girl.
Anti-war sentiments were heard from celebrities. Award winner Michael Moore, who captured the Documentary Feature Oscar for his film “Bowling For Columbine,” was among the most vocal. During his acceptance speech for his film, dealing with gun violence in America, he expressed his disapproval of President George W. Bush’s decision to enter into war. Moore’s comments were met with both cheers and jeers from the audience.
Traditionally a long, drawn out celebrity parade, the 2003 Academy Awards clocked in at just over three and a half hours, ending shortly before midnight.