×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

High notes for ‘Pianist’ & Polanski

Brody makes history as youngest best actor winner

Related
 
Main Story: ‘Chicago’ shimmies to best pic
 

Winners
 

High notes for ‘Pianist’ & Polanski
 
 

Wins cap wild ride for Miramax
 

‘Chicago’ likely to reap all that B.O.

 

Oscar honors O’Toole for his trade

 

Army Archerd

 

Silence before the Oscars

 

Scream play goes to protests

 

Backstage notes

 

‘Night Before’ party hearty after all

 

Review

 

Arrivals

In a three-fold stunner, Hollywood gave Holocaust drama “The Pianist” Oscars on Sunday for director Roman Polanski, actor Adrien Brody and screenwriter Ronald Harwood.

None had been viewed as favorites despite strong critical support for the intense portrayal of pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman surviving the Nazis’ attempts to exterminate Warsaw’s Jewish community.

Harwood said Polanski, who did not attend the ceremonies at the Kodak Theater, should also have been given the screenwriting award.

He recounted that Shirley Maclaine had said, “I deserve this” on receiving her Oscar two decades ago.

“Well, I wish I could say that, but I can’t,” Harwood said. “Roman Polanski deserves this. He’s a great director and a wonderful colleague. And I want to thank him and, of course, you for this splendid honor.”

The selection of Polanski, who was also nominated for directing Oscars for “Chinatown” and “Tess” and for screenwriting for “Rosemary’s Baby,” may have stemmed partly from the reaction of Academy members to seeing a film based partly on Polanski’s own experiences as a Holocaust survivor who lost his family in Poland.

Polanski topped frontrunners Rob Marshall for “Chicago,” who had won the Directors Guild award three weeks ago, and four-time nominee Martin Scorsese for “Gangs of New York.” He also beat out Pedro Almodovar for “Talk to Her” and Stephen Daldry for “The Hours.”

Polanski’s selection marked only the sixth time in 55 years that the Academy has differed with the DGA winner.

Brody’s selection also confounded many forecasters, who had positioned the contest as a race between Daniel Day-Lewis for “Gangs of New York” and three-time winner Jack Nicholson for “About Schmidt.”

Brody himself admitted he was stunned on hearing his name announced.

“The name — I didn’t know my name,” the elated thesp proclaimed. “I haven’t really written a speech because every time I wrote a speech for the past one of these things I didn’t win. But, you know, there comes a time in life when everything seems to make sense — and this is not one of those times.”

Brody, 29, topped Nicolas Cage for “Adaptation,” Michael Caine for “The Quiet American,” Day-Lewis for “Gangs of New York” and Nicholson for “About Schmidt” — all of whom have won Oscars.

Brody’s victory marks the first time that a quartet of previous winners has been topped by a first-time nominee.

Brody lost 30 pounds and learned to play the piano for the film.

“If it weren’t for the insomnia and the sudden panic attacks, this has been an amazing, amazing journey,” he said.

Brody went well past the 45-second limit, thanking his parents, Polanski and the “blueprint” provided by Szpilman’s book.

“This is a tribute to his survival,” he added.

Brody also made history by being the youngest ever choice for Best Actor. The previous youngest Best Actor recipient had been Richard Dreyfuss, who received the kudo for “The Goodbye Girl” in 1977 when he was 30.

Harwood’s victory for Best Adapted Screenplay also represented something of an upset, since David Hare had won the Writers Guild Award two weeks ago for his work on “The Hours” and Charlie Kaufman and the fictional Donald Kaufman’s “Adaptation” had won most of the other key awards season trophies.

“The Pianist,” which won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, has grossed $19 million domestically since being released in December by Focus Features.

Host Steve Martin made light of Polanski’s absence from the proceedings, quipping in his opening monologue, “Roman Polanski’s here. Get him!”

Polanski fled the U.S. 25 years ago after his conviction on a sexual assault charge and lives and works in Paris.

More Film

  • Zoe Lister-Jones The Craft

    'The Craft' Remake Finds Director in Zoe-Lister Jones

    “Life in Pieces” star Zoe Lister-Jones will write and direct Sony Pictures’ remake of “The Craft” for Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment. Doug Wick, the producer of the original “The Craft,” will return in the same capacity along with partner Lucy Fisher through their Red Wagon banner. Jason Blum is also producing and his Blumhouse [...]

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Entertainment One, Universal to Partner on Home Entertainment

    Entertainment One and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-territory distribution agreement. UPHE will serve as the home entertainment distributor of eOne’s offerings across both physical and digital formats. The pact covers film, television, and select family content and includes all sales, marketing, and distribution, spanning the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, Australia, [...]

  • Will Smith Jada Pinkett Smith

    AFI, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation Launch Second Young Women in Film Intensive

    The AFI Conservatory and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation have partnered to launch the second annual Young Women in Film Intensive. The AFI Campus in Los Angeles will host 45 high school girls for an eight-week filmmaking workshop, where students will receive mentorship from current fellows and working professional alumni of the AFI [...]

  • Paul Davidson

    The Orchard Head Content Executive Paul Davidson Steps Down

    At the finish line of its sale to 1091 Media, distributor the Orchard’s film and TV head Paul Davidson is parting ways with the company. In an amicable split, the creative executive addressed staff in person and in a company-wide memo on Tuesday in New York City to inform them of his decision. “While I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content