Though front-runner "Chicago" generated six wins, including best picture, and Eminem made history, it took two Oscar newcomers to truly shake up the 75th annual Academy Awards.
Host Steve Martin opened Sunday's highly wrought, four-hour show with the sardonic one-liner "Well I'm glad they cut back on all the glitz." (Click for photos from the red carpet.) A few declawed war jokes were among the gags that followed, but talk of the conflict grew decidedly more pointed once filmmaker Michael Moore and actor Adrien Brody got a chance to speak.
Moore, who received a standing ovation when he was announced as winner of the best documentary Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine," made the most incendiary speech of the evening. With all of his fellow nominees onstage with him, he said, "We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons."
Amid both cheers and boos, Moore continued to speak his mind, saying ultimately to President Bush that "anytime you've got the pope and the Dixie Chicks against ya, your time is up."
After a commercial break, host Martin joked, "It was so sweet backstage. The teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo." The crowd cheered.
After winning the best leading actor Oscar for "The Pianist," Brody gave presenter Halle Berry a long kiss and then got serious, saying, "This fills me with great joy and a lot of sadness, accepting an award at such a strange time." After demanding more than the allotted speaking time and receiving it, Brody said that making "The Pianist" showed him the dehumanization of people in times of war and the repercussions of war. "Let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution," he said to a standing ovation.
When Nicole Kidman accepted the best leading actress Oscar for "The Hours," she asked, "Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in such turmoil? Because art is important and [the Oscars are] a tradition that needs to be upheld."
Catherine Zeta-Jones beat out "Chicago" co-star Queen Latifah for the best supporting actress Oscar. But first the pair performed "I Move On," a nominated song from the film. U2 performed "The Hands That Built America" from "Gangs of New York," but it was no-show Eminem and "Lose Yourself" who won for best song, the category's first win by a hip-hop artist.
"Chicago" also won awards for best set design, costume design, sound and editing, while Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" was awarded Oscars for best adapted screenplay and best director.
Chris Cooper won for the best supporting actor Oscar for "Adaptation," and "Frida" won for best makeup and original score.
When accepting the Oscar for the original screenplay of "Talk to Her," filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar addressed "all the people raising their voices in peace."
Finally, echoing the somber wartime mood of the evening, Martin closed the show by saying, "To the young men and women who are watching overseas, we hope you enjoyed it. It was for you."
Roman Polanski, "The Pianist"
Adrien Brody, "The Pianist"
Nicole Kidman, "The Hours"
Chris Cooper, "Adaptation"
Catherine Zeta-Jones, "Chicago"
"Bowling for Columbine"
"The Pianist" by Ronald Harwood
"Talk to Her" by Pedro Almodóvar
Elliot Goldenthal, "Frida"
Eminem, "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile"
Conrad L. Hall, "Road to Perdition"
John Myhre and Gordon Sim, "Chicago"
Martin Walsh, "Chicago"
John Jackson and Beatrice De Alba, "Frida"
"Nowhere in Africa"
"This Charming Man"
Michael Minkler, Dominick Tavella and David Lee, "Chicago"
Ethan Van der Ryn and Michael Hopkins, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"