'Chicago', 'The Pianist' secure major Oscars


Chicagoswept an Oscars ceremony overshadowed by war last night with six awards, but Holocaust drama The Pianistsecured two upset victories for director Roman Polanski and actor Adrien Brody.

Coming into the Oscars, the musical Chicagowas an odds-on favourite in many top categories with 13 nominations, more than any other film.

Best actor Oscar winner Adrien Brody (R) and best actress Oscar winner Nicole Kidman backstage after the 75th Annual Academy Awards.

But the film's star, Renee Zellweger, lost the best actress honour to a tearful Nicole Kidman in drama The Hours.

Michael Moore used his win of the best documentary Oscar for his anti-gun film Bowling For Columbineto condemn US President George W. Bush and the war, drawing boos from the audience.

"We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects afictitious president.We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitiousreasons," he said.

"We are against this war Mr Bush. Shame on you. Shame on you!" he told the audience of 3,500 people, who were equally booing and cheering loudly.

Brody (29) who portrays Holocaust survivor and piano player Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist,gave the audience its biggest surprise with a best actor Oscar over heavily favoured Daniel Day-Lewis of Gangs of New Yorkand Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt.

He became the youngest man ever to win the best actor Oscar, claiming that distinction from Richard Dreyfuss, who was 30 when he won.

Polanski's victory, too, was shocking because the director fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He faces a long prison term if he returns.