2003 wins: None
Oscar pedigree: Nomination: “The Dresser” (1983)
Harwood on “The Pianist”: ”(Roman) Polanski would say, ‘I remember the way this looked,’ and we’d add it in. He knew if something was accurate because he had experienced it.”
What we said: “To be sure, it’s a solid, respectable work, one that will interest a sizable number of viewers internationally due to both the subject matter and the man who made it.” — Todd McCarthy (May 26)
What the others said: “Calmly and passionately addressing his past for the first time (with the clear-eyed power of an artist entitled, with terrible proof of ownership to the telling), Polanski creates a huge, straightforward picture built of countless small, shockingly casual details of brutality, desperation, and kindness.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
This could be the night: Steve Zaillian won in 1993 for “Schindler’s List,” a biopic set during the Holocaust.
Then comes the rub: A Polanski-directed picture hasn’t won a screenplay Oscar since “Chinatown” (1975).