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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Chicago' and 'The Pianist' Dominate Oscar Night

LOS ANGELES -- The musical "Chicago" swept through the Oscars on Sunday with six awards, including best film, but Holocaust drama "The Pianist" dazzled audiences with two big upset victories for director Roman Polanski and actor Adrien Brody in a ceremony overshadowed by the Iraq war.

For much of this year's awards season in Hollywood, "Chicago" had been a front-runner, and coming into the Oscars it was an odds-on favorite in many top categories with 13 nominations, more than any other film.

It took the most honors, but many of those six awards were in minor categories. When "Chicago" star Renee Zellweger lost best actress to Nicole Kidman in the drama "The Hours," the curtain finally came down on the musical about a pair of murdering showgirls and the media that made them stars.

Still, producer Martin Richards was ecstatic with his victory after shepherding the movie through dozens of writers, directors, actors, and actresses for more than 25 years.

Along with best film, "Chicago" put Catherine Zeta-Jones in the winner category for best supporting actress, and it earned Oscars in art direction, sound, costume design and editing.

Brody, 29, who portrays Holocaust survivor and piano player Wladyslaw Szpilman in "The Pianist," gave the audience its biggest surprise with a best actor Oscar over heavily favored Daniel Day-Lewis of "Gangs of New York" and Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt," among rivals.

He became the youngest man ever to win the best actor Oscar. When accepting his award, his jovial attitude turned to tears as he thought about the war in Iraq.

"Let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution," he said, which brought the audience to its feet.

Polanski's victory, too, was a shocker because the director fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He faces a long prison term if he returns and he, obviously, was a no-show. Some Hollywood insiders have mixed feelings about him. Martin Scorsese, whom he beat, considers him a master.

Kidman, however, was far less an upset because she and Zellweger had come into the night's ceremony neck-and-neck in the race for best actress.

In the first part of the show, the stars and even show host Steve Martin shied away from mentions of the war in Iraq, but when Michael Moore took the podium as the winner for a best documentary feature, his anti-gun movie "Bowling for Columbine," all that changed.

"We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it is the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush!"

His statements set off a round of boos in the audience, which was met with some cheering, then more boos. The theater became so loud, Moore could not be heard finishing his speech.