Best Picture

Studio: Focus Features

Producers: Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde

Nominations: Seven

2003 wins: Boston Film Critics, Goya Awards, National Society of Film Critics, S. F. Film Critics

Box office: $9 million (as of 2/9)

Polanski on “The Pianist”: “This book describes the events I remember from my childhood. For many years I’ve been planning to make a film about this period, but couldn’t find the right material. Reading the first few chapters, I knew it was going to be my next film.”

What we said: “It’s a solid, respectable work, one that will interest a sizeable number of viewers internationally due to both the subject matter and the man who made it.” — Todd McCarthy (May 26)

What others said: “Toward the end, there’s a scene in which Wladyslaw gets to play once more. Certain that he is about to die, he launches into Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor on a ruined piano, and his gnarled fingers unbend and slowly, miraculously speak. It’s the defiant shout of art — of the possibility of a better world — against the species that has created it, and I don’t know if I’ve seen a moment in movies that more profoundly addresses what it means to be alive.” — Ty Burr, Boston Globe

This could be the night: Holocaust films — think “Schindler’s List” and “Life Is Beautiful” — have a way of deeply affecting voters.

Then comes the rub: Might the Acad be aware of its soft spot and purposely go with something more lighthearted?

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