2002 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.

Filmsite's Greatest Films of 2002

Best Picture

CHICAGO (2002)

Gangs of New York (2002)

The Hours (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002, US/NZ)

The Pianist (2002)

Best Animated Feature Film


Ice Age (2002)

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Treasure Planet (2002)

ADRIEN BRODY in "The Pianist," Nicolas Cage in "Adaptation.," Michael Caine in "The Quiet American," Daniel Day-Lewis in "Gangs of New York," Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt"
NICOLE KIDMAN in "The Hours," Salma Hayek in "Frida," Diane Lane in "Unfaithful," Julianne Moore in "Far from Heaven," Renee Zellweger in "Chicago"
Supporting Actor:
CHRIS COOPER in "Adaptation.," Ed Harris in "The Hours," Paul Newman in "Road to Perdition," John C. Reilly in "Chicago," Christopher Walken in "Catch Me If You Can"
Supporting Actress:
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES in "Chicago," "Kathy Bates in "About Schmidt," Julianne Moore in "The Hours," Queen Latifah for "Chicago," Meryl Streep in "Adaptation."
ROMAN POLANSKI for "The Pianist," Rob Marshall for "Chicago," Martin Scorsese for "Gangs of New York," Stephen Daldry for "The Hours," Pedro Almodovar for "Talk to Her"

This was the first year that the Academy Awards ceremony was broadcast in high-definition television.

All five of the Best Picture nominees were released in the last two weeks of 2002 (December 18 or after). All of them were also set in the past.

The most-nominated film of this year's Best Picture competitors, Chicago, with thirteen nominations, was also the Best Picture Oscar winner - and the film debut of choreographer and first-time feature director Rob Marshall. Chicago became the first musical to win the top honor since Oliver! (1968) - 34 years earlier. It marked the second-consecutive year that a live-action musical received a Best Picture nomination (last year's nominee was Moulin Rouge (2001)) - after a long spell of non-recognition for the genre - since Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Cabaret (1972) were nominated back-to-back.

Chicago won six Oscars from its thirteen nominations, mostly in minor categories: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design. Its seven other nominations included three additional acting nominations (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (Bill Condon), Best Cinematography, and Best Original Song ("I Move On").

[Chicago tied the record set by Mary Poppins (1964) of 13 nominations for a musical. Chicago's impressive nominations-total tied with seven other films having the same honor: Gone With The Wind (1939), From Here to Eternity (1953), Mary Poppins (1964), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Forrest Gump (1994), Shakespeare in Love (1998), and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Only two films have had more than 13 nominations in Oscar history: All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) each had 14 nominations.]

Chicago was a musical drama and a screen adaptation of the hit, mid-70s Broadway musical Chicago from John Kander and Fred Ebb, originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, and revived on Broadway in 1996. The sexy musical extravaganza, based on a 1926 play by Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, told a tale of mid-1920s murderous passion involving two cold-blooded, cell-block chorus girls (Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones) who became rivals for tabloid celebrity status and fame. Its tagline was: "If You Can't Be Famous, Be Infamous."

The other four Best Picture nominees included:

  • Roman Polanski's harrowing, semi-autobiographical, dark WWII non-documentary tale, The Pianist (with seven nominations and three wins including Best Director, Best Actor (Adrien Brody), and Best Adapted Screenplay) - an adaptation of Polish Jew Wladyslaw Szpilman's 1946 Holocaust memoirs, and the Palme d'Or winner at Cannes
  • Martin Scorsese's historical epic Gangs of New York (with a total of ten nominations, but with only one acting nominee, and no Oscar wins), about Manhattan gang warfare in the mid-19th century
  • the poignant, dramatic, literary triptych from director Stephen Daldry, The Hours (with nine nominations and only one win, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman) about three women's interconnected lives (via Virginia Woolf) over a period of over 75 years - a film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by screenwriter David Hare
  • the enormously-successful (the fourth-highest-grossing Best Picture nominee ever), epic adventure of the fictional Middle Earth from director Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (with six nominations and two wins, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing) - the second film in the fantasy trilogy and only the third sequel to be nominated for Best Picture (the other sequels to be so honored previously were The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) and The Godfather, Part II (1974) - with a second 'sequel' of sorts, The Godfather, Part III (1990) which was also nominated for Best Picture!). Its predecessor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) had 13 nominations and also won in technical categories: four similar minor Oscar wins for Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Original Score.

Two other films scored six nominations, although they weren't nominated for Best Picture: Frida (with two Oscar wins, Best Makeup and Best Original Score) and Road to Perdition (with one win, a posthumous one for Best Cinematography to Conrad L. Hall, his third Oscar.) [Hall was a 10-time Best Cinematography nominee who had previously won for American Beauty (1999) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).]

Disney-owned Miramax Studios was associated with three of the Best Picture nominees: Miramax distributed Chicago and Gangs of New York, and co-produced The Hours (sharing the honors with Paramount). New Line released The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Focus Features distributed The Pianist. [This year marked the last year of Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein's 11-year run of consecutive Best Picture nominees (from 1992-2002) - the longest streak for any studio since the Academy limited the number of Best Picture nominees to five in 1944. The streak ended with no Best Picture nomination for Miramax's Cold Mountain (2003).]

In regards to the five Best Director nominees, an upset occurred when exiled fugitive (on a statutory rape charge of having sex with a 13 year old), 69 year-old Roman Polanski (with three Best Director nominations) took his first Best Director Oscar for the Holocaust drama The Pianist. In addition, with his win he became the oldest Best Director in Academy history, surpassing 65 year-old George Cukor for My Fair Lady (1964). His previous nominations were for Chinatown (1974) and Tess (1980).

The four other Best Director nominations included:

  • Martin Scorsese with his sixth career nomination and fourth Best Director nod (with no wins) for Gangs of New York, after previous nominations for Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and GoodFellas (1990). His three hour epic of Gotham City's Five Points was in the planning stages for over 25 years
  • British director Stephen Daldry with his second Best Director nomination (with no wins), after a previous nomination for Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar with his first Best Director nomination, for the quirky romance Talk to Her (with only two nominations and one win - Best Original Screenplay for Almodovar), although Almodovar had already won one Oscar, for All About My Mother (1999) - the year's Best Foreign Language Film
  • Chicago's director Rob Marshall with his first Best Director nomination for the Best Picture winner

Almodovar's Best Director nomination for an un-nominated Best Picture film (that was also not submitted as an official Best Foreign-Language Film contender) replaced Peter Jackson's expected spot in this year's slate. (Jackson had earned a Best Director nomination for the fantasy trilogy's first chapter last year, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).) Before this year, the last time that all five Best Picture nominees matched the Best Director nominees was 1981.

The winner of Best Animated Feature Film, the second year of the category's existence, was the magical, ecological-minded Japanese anime Spirited Away, created by legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, who wrote and directed the beautiful and evocative cel-animated movie (the only traditionally-animated film to ever win the award). It was the first anime to win the Oscar in this category. It was also the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. For the only time in Academy Award history, five animated films qualified for the category, and surprisingly, only one was completely or purely CGI (Ice Age).

All of the performance/acting nominations were for compelling and rich performances. Chicago had four acting nominations (with only one acting Oscar win), and The Hours and Adaptation both exhibited great ensemble acting - each had three nominated performers (and each won one acting Oscar). Both Oscars for the lead and supporting actor categories were won by first-time nominees.

The Best Actor category included a strong contingent of character actors, with four veteran Oscar winners and only one newcomer. Nominees Michael Caine and Jack Nicholson had both earned nominations for films in five consecutive decades. Except for Adrien Brody, all the Best Actor contenders had been nominated and won Oscars previously. The longshot winner was 29 year-old Adrien Brody (with his first nomination and first Oscar) for his sensitive role as Wladyslaw Szpilman, a gifted Jewish piano player in Poland who survives the Holocaust, in Roman Polanski's The Pianist. With his win, he became the youngest Best Actor winner in Academy history.

The other Best Actor nominees were:

  • 39 year-old Nicolas Cage (with his second nomination, after winning the Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) in a dual role as struggling, neurotic screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (the film's real-life scriptwriter) attempting to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction best-seller The Orchid Thief, and as his oafish identical twin brother Donald Kaufman, in director Spike Jonze's Adaptation (with four nominations and only one win, Best Supporting Actor)
    [Trivia note: Donald Kaufman is the first (and only) fictional person ever to be nominated (or co-nominated) for an Academy Award]

  • Michael Caine (with his sixth career nomination, and fourth Best Actor nomination) in director Phillip Noyce's political drama The Quiet American (the film's sole nomination, with no wins) - an adaptation of Graham Greene's novel about the Vietnam conflict, as Thomas Fowler, a married but lovelorn, dissolute British journalist for the London Times reporting on the Indo-China conflict in the early 1950s, while keeping a young Vietnamese mistress. Noyce's film, although completed in 2001, was not released until 2002 due to the September 11th terrorist attack.
    [Caine already has won two Best Supporting Actor Oscars, for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and for The Cider House Rules (1999) and has yet to win a Best Actor Oscar.]

  • Daniel Day-Lewis (with his third Best Actor nomination) [previously, Day-Lewis won his sole Oscar for My Left Foot (1989)] as the violent, knife-wielding, roguish William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting, head of the "Native Americans" Manhattan underworld ghetto gang who wars against Liam Neeson's Irish gang, the "Dead Rabbits" and Neeson's vengeful son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) 16 years later in Scorsese's mid-1800's epic Gangs of New York
  • 65 year-old Jack Nicholson (with his twelfth nomination stretching over a period of 34 years, and 8th Best Actor nomination) as retired, Midwestern (Ohama), widowed insurance salesman Warren Schmidt in director Alexander Payne's black comedy About Schmidt (with two nominations and no wins), who travels in his Winnebago to try and prevent his daughter from marrying a water-bed salesman.
    [Nicholson's twelfth nomination gave him the honor of being the most-nominated actor ever. He had already won three career Oscars (two were Best Actor awards, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and for As Good As It Gets (1997)). If Nicholson had won the Best Actor Oscar, he would have tied Katharine Hepburn's long-time record of four Oscar wins.]

The Best Supporting Actor category also included both veteran and newcomer actors, only one of whom has ever won a Best Supporting Actor award (Walken). One of the nominees, John C. Reilly, also co-starred in three Best Picture nominated films: Chicago, The Hours and Gangs of New York. [This feat was first accomplished by Claudette Colbert in 1934, and then repeated by Charles Laughton in 1935 and Thomas Mitchell in 1939.]

[Note: The first performer who had three appearances in Best Picture-nominated films in the same year was Claudette Colbert, in 1934: Cleopatra (1934), It Happened One Night (1934), and Imitation of Life (1934). Charles Laughton also appeared in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Les Miserables (1935), and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) in 1935, and Thomas Mitchell appeared in three Best Picture-nominated films in 1939: Gone With the Wind (1939), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and Stagecoach (1939).]

The Best Supporting Actor winner was Chris Cooper (with his first nomination) as crusading, self-absorbed, garrulous, scraggly and almost toothless orchid lover/thief John Laroche in Adaptation.

The other Best Supporting Actor nominees were:

  • Ed Harris (with his fourth nomination and third supporting nomination, with no wins) as Meryl Streep's ex-boyfriend and AIDS-stricken gay patient and poet Richard Brown in The Hours
    [Harris was previously nominated as Best Supporting Actor for Apollo 13 (1995) and The Truman Show (1998), and as Best Actor for Pollock (2000).]

  • 78 year-old veteran actor Paul Newman (with his ninth career nomination for acting - and his first nomination as Best Supporting Actor) as aging, Depression-era, Irish gangster godfather/boss John Rooney in Dreamworks' and Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition
    [Newman has won one Best Actor Oscar, for The Color of Money (1986). In addition to his performance nominations, he has one other nomination as producer for Best Picture-nominee Rachel, Rachel (1968).]

  • John C. Reilly (with his first nomination) as Amos Hart, Renee Zellweger's put-upon, submissive, jilted and cuckolded husband in Chicago
  • 59 year-old Christopher Walken (with his second nomination) as failed businessman Frank Abagnale Sr., con artist Leonardo DiCaprio's father in director Steven Spielberg's crime caper Catch Me If You Can (one of the film's two nominations)
    [Walken previously won the Best Supporting Oscar for his only other nomination, for The Deer Hunter (1978).]

According to reports, the average of this year's Best Actress nominees was 37 years - the youngest group of nominees since 1994. None of this year's Best Actress nominees had ever won an Oscar. The Best Actress category includes two repeat Best Actress nominees from the previous year (Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger) who both lost to African-American winner Halle Berry for Monster's Ball (2001). And the list of nominees included a double-nominee - Julianne Moore, who was also nominated in the supporting category (in two similar roles as an unhappy 50s housewife).

[Moore's double nominations made her the ninth performer to have two acting nominations in the same year. Other years in which a female performer had been nominated twice for different films in the same year include: 1938, 1942, 1982, 1988, and 1993 (two actresses), and 1944 and 1992 for a male performer. If Moore had won in both categories, she would have been the first actress and performer to do so.]

The Best Actress winner was 35 year-old Australian Nicole Kidman (with her second Best Actress nomination and first Oscar win) as Virginia Woolf, the troubled and depressed author of Mrs. Dalloway in The Hours. [Kidman was previously nominated for Moulin Rouge (2001)].

The other Best Actress nominees were:

  • 36 year-old Mexican-born actress/producer Salma Hayek (with her first nomination) as iconoclastic, single-browed, fierce Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in director Julie Taymor's biographical drama Frida - Hayek's nomination is also a milestone - she is the first Mexican ever to be nominated for Best Actress
    [Mexico had a record number of nominations this year - including Best Foreign Film (El Crimen del Padre Amaro), Best Original Screenplay for Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Talk to Her.]
  • 38 year-old Diane Lane (with her first nomination for her 42nd film) as Richard Gere's cheating and anguished suburban housewife Connie Sumner in director Adrian Lyne's steamy erotic thriller Unfaithful (the film's sole nomination)
  • 43 year-old Julianne Moore (with her third/fourth career nominations, with no wins) as frustrated 50s Connecticut housewife Cathy Whitaker who fails to act upon her impulse to cheat with black gardener (Dennis Haysbert) in director Todd Haynes' melodramatic Far From Heaven (with four nominations and no wins)
    [Moore was previously nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Boogie Nights (1997), and Best Actress for The End of the Affair (1999).]
  • Renee Zellweger (with her second Best Actress nomination) as scheming, mid-20s, imprisoned chorus dancer Roxie Hart in Chicago
    [Zellweger was previously nominated for Bridget Jones's Diary (2001).]

The Best Supporting Actress category included two competing performances from Chicago. It has been noted that three of the performances (Moore, Streep, and Zeta-Jones) in the Best Picture were not really supportive roles, but lead roles.

The surprise winner was 33 year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones (with her first nomination and Oscar) as rival jailhouse murderess and high-stepping cabaret star Velma Kelly in Chicago. She became the first performer to win an Oscar for a musical since 1972, when both Joel Grey (in a supporting role) and Liza Minnelli (in a lead role) won acting Oscars for Cabaret (1972).

[It was the third time that a husband/wife had acting Oscars (husband Michael Douglas won Best Actor for Wall Street (1987)). The other previous winning couples were Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward, and Laurence Olivier-Vivien Leigh.]

The other Best Supporting Actress nominees were:

  • 54 year-old Kathy Bates (with her third nomination after one Oscar win) in a scene-stealing, hot-tub performance as free-spirited, bawdy Roberta Hertzel, the mother of the fiancee of Nicholson's daughter in About Schmidt (one of the film's two acting nominations)
    [Bates was previously nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Primary Colors (1998), and she won the Best Actress Oscar for Misery (1990).]
  • Julianne Moore (with her third/fourth career nominations, with no wins) as depressed 50's LA suburban housewife Laura Brown in The Hours
  • 32 year-old Queen Latifah (with her first nomination) as opportunistic, money-grubbing cell-house warden Mama Morton who sings "When You're Good to Mama" in Chicago
  • the favored nominee - Meryl Streep (with thirteen nominations, and two Oscar wins in 1979 and 1982) as drug-snorting magazine writer and author of The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean in Adaptation [This was Streep's 13th career nomination over a period of only 24 years (from her Best Supporting Actress nomination for The Deer Hunter (1978) to this nomination).
    [Streep's nomination made her the most-nominated or honored performer in Oscar history, surpassing the record of 12 nominations set by screen legend Katharine Hepburn, and stretching over a period of 49 years (from Hepburn's Best Actress win for Morning Glory (1932/33) to her Best Actress win for On Golden Pond (1981)). Streep has already won two Oscars: Best Actress for Sophie's Choice (1982) and Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).]

This year's Honorary Oscar Award was presented to 70 year-old Peter O'Toole, "whose remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters," many of whom were among his seven Best Actor nominations (to date) - with no wins (a record!): Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), and My Favorite Year (1982). He also appeared in Man of La Mancha (1972) and The Last Emperor (1987). His final Best Actor nomination (and loss), his eighth, was for Venus (2006).

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

The offbeat films Adaptation (with only four nominations) and About Schmidt (with only two nominations) lacked Best Picture nominations, as did Catch Me If You Can, Road to Perdition, and Far From Heaven. There were no nominations for Denzel Washington's directorial debut film Antwone Fisher with a great performance by Derek Luke, and only one nomination for About a Boy (Best Adapted Screenplay). Best Director hopefuls without nominations included Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Sam Mendes for Road to Perdition, Alexander Payne for About Schmidt , Spike Jonze for Adaptation, Todd Haynes for Far From Heaven (although Haynes was nominated for his original screenplay), and Steven Spielberg for two films: Catch Me If You Can (with two nominations and no wins) and Minority Report (with only one nomination). [Payne was also unnominated as Best Director for other previous films, Citizen Ruth (1996) and Election (1999).]

Not nominated for Best Actor (for a Musical or Comedy) was Golden Globe winner Richard Gere as tap-dancing lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago. [If Gere had been nominated, it would have been his first nomination in a 25-year film career - and he stood a better chance as Best Supporting Actor than as lead actor.] And there was no Best Actress nomination for Nia Vardalos as thirty-ish and single Greek-American Toula in director Joel Zwick's hugely successful My Big Fat Greek Wedding, although actress Vardalos was nominated for Best Original Screenplay (the film's sole nomination). Although nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category, Meryl Streep was denied a Best Actress nomination for her performance as literary editor and party-planner Clarissa Vaughn in The Hours. TV star Jennifer Aniston was absent from the list of Best Actresses for her role as bored department store cosmetics clerk and wife Justine Last in The Good Girl.

Two favored actors came up empty-handed in two films: Leonardo DiCaprio as charming crook Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can and as Amsterdam Vallon in Gangs of New York; and Tom Hanks as FBI agent Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can and as hitman Michael Sullivan in Road to Perdition.

Dennis Quaid, in one of his best career performances, was snubbed in the Best Supporting Actor category as Frank, Julianne Moore's closeted homosexual husband in Far From Heaven, as was Quaid's co-star Patricia Clarkson as Eleonor Fine (Moore's bigoted 'best friend') in the Best Supporting Actress category. Salma Hayek's co-star Alfred Molina, was omitted from the Best Supporting Actor nominees for his role in Frida as Diego Rivera, Frida's lover. And Michelle Pfeiffer's name was missing from the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as imprisoned, strict mother Ingrid Magnussen in British director Peter Kosminsky's White Oleander. Three other strong supporting performances were also omitted in these films: Toni Collette as frumpy Fiona (the mother of the 'boy') in the British film About a Boy, Edie Falco as Florida cafe and motel manager Marly Temple in John Sayles' Sunshine State, Maggie Gyllenhaal as abused secretary Lee Holloway in Steven Shainberg's Secretary, and Lupe Ontiveros as critical Latino mother Carmen in Patricia Cardoso's debut, coming-of-age film Real Women Have Curves. Miranda Richardson was also overlooked for her masterful performance in three roles (Yvonne / Mrs. Cleg / Mrs. Wilkinson) in David Cronenberg's horror film Spider.

Two of the biggest blockbusters of the year were passed over or almost entirely neglected, except for their technical achievements: George Lucas' Star Wars (Episode II): Attack of the Clones (with only one nomination for Best Visual Effects), and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (with two nominations, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound). And Gore Verbinski's chilling supernatural horror thriller The Ring (with no nominations), was neglected in many respects: Daveigh Chase as Samara, Naomi Watts as curious journalist Rachel Keller, Best Cinematography (Bojan Bazelli), Best Editing (Craig Wood), Best Sound/Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects.

There was some talk of a nomination for the voice-over work and movement provided by Andy Serkis for an all-CGI and special effects character, Gollum, in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love (2002) (with no nominations) starring Adam Sandler should have at least had a screenplay nomination.

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