'Chicago' Is Oscar's Kind of Town

03/23/2003 at 10:58 AM EST



11:30 p.m.: Brody Scores Upset, Kidman Wins by Nose

Nicole Kidman was named Best Actress and "Chicago" scored five trophies, but Oscar experienced at least one major, wonderful upset Sunday. Despite the polls, critics and bookies who said the Best Actor race was only between Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson, the Oscar went to "The Pianist" star Adrien Brody -- who then provided the most moving comments of the evening.

Brody, who stars as a Holocaust victim in Roman Polanski's drama, raced to the stage and kissed presenter Halle Berry as the entire Kodak Theatre leapt to its feet.

Brody, clutching his heart at the podium, spoke at length. "It doesn't come out of slow motion," he told Berry, "but I didn't know my name when you called it."

Then, attempting to turn serious, he said, "There comes a time in life when everything seems to make sense. This is not one of those times."

He asked for a "swift end" to the war -- and was applauded for the sentiment -- and he remembered a friend of his from Queens, N.Y., who is currently involved in the fight in Iraq.

Brody received a second standing ovation as he left the stage with his Oscar.

Nicole Kidman had trouble composing herself when accepting her Best Actress Oscar for "The Hours," in which she played author Virginia Woolf.

"I have such appreciation and gratitude for this," she began, before dissolving into tears. "Russell Crowe said 'Don't cry if you get up there,' and now I'm crying. Sorry."

Finally pulling herself together, she said, "Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in such turmoil? Because art is important, and you believe in what you do, and you want to honor that tradition that must be upheld."

She also paid tribute to those who have suffered on and since 9/11, and those who are suffering through the war in Iraq. "God bless them," she said.

She concluded by saying that she was there with her mother and daughter. "My whole life," she said, "I wanted to make my mother proud. Tonight I want to make my daughter proud of her mother."

In other Oscar developments, Barbra Streisand presented the Best Song Oscar to Grammy winner Eminem, for "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile." The rapper was not there.

Meryl Streep presented a Lifetime Achievement Oscar to Peter O'Toole, who first became a star more than 40 years ago, in David Lean's larger-than-life epic "Lawrence of Arabia." Nominated for Best Actor seven times, but never winning, O'Toole, 70, had written the Academy saying he didn't want the honorary award -- saying he'd prefer to wait and still try to win one.

But O'Toole changed his mind -- and kissed Meryl Streep three times when he got to the stage.

"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, my foot," O'Toole said. "I have my very own Oscar to be with me until death do us part."

He also talked about the great young talent from whom he now draws strength when he goes to work, and how much the United States has given to him, "both personally and professionally. And now you have given me this great shock. You are very good. Goodnight, and God bless you."

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