Oscar nominees react to the good news. It really is an honor just to be nominated, say Streep, Kidman, Scorsese, and others

By Gary Susman
Updated February 11, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Meryl Streep: Scott Weiner/ZUMA Press/NewsCom

When the Academy Award nominations were announced Tuesday morning, everyone expected Meryl Streep to break Katharine Hepburn’s record of 12 Oscar nominations. Everyone except Streep, apparently, who accomplished the feat by earning her 13th nod, for Best Supporting Actress for ”Adaptation.” ”I am thrilled and honored to be nominated, and also aghast that anybody could imagine that I could surpass the unsurpassable Katharine Hepburn in any category whatsoever,” Streep told the Associated Press. ”But it’s lovely to even be mentioned in the same sentence. ”

Nicole Kidman and her fellow nominees from ”The Hours” were in England, promoting the film’s British premiere, when they heard the news. She told the Financial Times, ”It is such a thrill to be a part of ‘The Hours’ and for it to receive such incredible recognition. It was particularly nice to be with Ed Harris, Stephen Daldry and David Hare here in England, where we made the film, at the time of the nominations announcement.” Kidman, who earned a Best Actress nod for her portrayal of author Virginia Woolf, told AP, ”In some ways, I feel just privileged to actually have had the chance to play her and had the opportunity to step into her skin.” Talking to the Financial Times, castmate Harris said of his Best Supporting Actor nomination, ”The experience of working on this film with Stephen Daldry and Meryl Streep was an actor’s dream, so this is icing on the proverbial cake.”

Costar Julianne Moore earned a rare two-fer, scoring nominations for her supporting role in ”The Hours” and her lead role in ”Far From Heaven,” playing suburban 1950s housewives in both films. ”They’re wildly diverse characters,” Moore told AP. ”The fact that both happened to be placed in the 1950s, I didn’t even think about that when we filmed them. Except that I didn’t want my hairdos to be the same.” Her ”Heaven” director, Todd Haynes, who earned a Best Original Screenplay citation for the film, told Reuters, ”I don’t think there is an actress more deserving. This is her year.”

In fact, it’s been a good year for actresses in general, said Kathy Bates, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for ”About Schmidt.” She told Reuters, ”Things really are looking up. It’s been a banner year. And from Renée Zellweger to Meryl [Streep], it’s great to see a range of actresses [nominated].”

Zellweger is up for Best Actress for ”Chicago,” whose 13 nominations make it a favorite to be the first musical to win Best Picture since ”Oliver!” in 1968. ”I can’t quite imagine it happening, but I would be so honored to carry on that tradition from ‘Oliver!’,” nominated director Rob Marshall told AP. ”I grew up on movie musicals. They really were my world. I just think it’s an incredible American art form that can lift you in ways that non-musicals can’t.” Producer Marty Richards, who has been trying to make a film of ”Chicago” since he staged the Bob Fosse musical on Broadway in 1975, told the Financial Times, ”Bringing Fosse’s masterpiece from the stage to the screen has been a dream come true for me. I’m so grateful to Rob Marshall and the wonderful cast and crew for their creativity and hard work. I know they are all as thrilled as I am about the nomination.”

Martin Scorsese has been trying for a similar span to get ”Gangs of New York” made; he was rewarded Tuesday with 10 nominations, including a Best Director nod for himself. He told the Financial Times he was ”very happy to be nominated by the members of the Academy for my work and particularly happy for my collaborators. It was a difficult movie to make, one I have dreamed of for several decades, so this recognition means a great deal to me.”

”This has made my day,” Michael Caine said of his nomination. ”I am absolutely delighted. It is completely unexpected after not getting a SAG nomination, so I couldn’t be happier,” he told the Financial Times. Caine, who campaigned hard to get ”The Quiet American” into theaters and earned a Best Actor nomination, told AP, ”It’s been a long, long journey. I just wanted to see whether I could get a nomination. And I’ve got one, I’m happy now and my work is done.” Noting the stiff competition (including Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis), he said, ”I get the difficult year, don’t I?”

Another Best Actor contender, ”The Pianist”’s Adrien Brody, agreed with the other nominees that the work was its own reward. ”I benefited so much from this experience,” Brody told AP of his role as Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman. ”It puts so much in perspective. It taught me about life, human suffering and loss, and made me appreciate more the goodness in life.”