What's wrong with Nicole's nose? Can a fictional character win? We answer eight burning questions about Oscar

By Adam Duerson
March 04, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Zellweger & Zeta-Jones: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Image credit: Zellweger & Zeta-Jones: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Will a very pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones perform the nominated song ”I Move On” with Renée Zellweger?Well, it depends on how much ”razzle dazzle” the eight-months-pregnant Zeta-Jones can display (she’s expecting her second child with Michael Douglas in the spring). According to Zeta-Jones’ publicist Cece York, the mother-to-be and Zellweger HAVE been asked to sing at the show, and Zeta-Jones hasn’t ruled out the idea of performing. ”But the pregnancy is a huge consideration,” York says. ”[Catherine] will be giving birth shortly after — hopefully not AT — the Oscars.” The larger problem might be the simple fact that it’s a two-person number. Months ago, when asked by Entertainment Weekly how she felt about performing live, Zellweger remarked: ”Oh, Jesus! It’s not something I do easily in front of people.” Could Zeta-Jones be left echoing her big ”Chicago” number, ”I Can’t Do It Alone”? An announcement is expected within the week.

Image credit: Adaptation: Columbia Pictures

Best Adapted Screenplay conominee Donald Kaufman isn’t a real person. Will he get a trophy if he wins?Nope. ”Brothers” Charlie and Donald Kaufman share a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for ”Adaptation.” But Donald’s just a character in the movie, making this the first time a fictional person has been up for an Academy Award. ”The Academy regards the two names as a pseudonym for Charlie,” says Oscar spokeswoman Toni Thompson, adding that if he wins there won’t be a trophy with Donald’s name on it. ”Charlie and ‘Donald’ will just have to learn to share.” Or wrestle for it.

Image credit: The Hours: Paramount Pictures

Why is Nicole Kidman up for Best Actress while her ”Hours” costar Julianne Moore is up for Best Supporting Actress?Nicole Kidman has 30 minutes of screen time for her ”Hours” role, compared with Julianne Moore’s 33, but Kidman has the lead-actress nod, while Moore is up for Supporting Actress. Not that this controversy is anything new — just last year ”Training Day”’s Ethan Hawke was deemed a supporting actor while partner Denzel Washington was considered a lead. But it raises the question: Where did the Academy learn its math? And the Kidman-Moore quandary isn’t the only one this year. Catherine Zeta-Jones is nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar (while the Golden Globes nominated her as a lead actress), and Renée Zellweger is up for Best Actress. The Academy’s Toni Thompson assures EW.com that the voters — not the studios — have final say in deciding which category a performance ends up in. Of course, cynics might speculate that studios play a part in the positioning — using their public relations savvy to convince voters that certain actors belong in a category in which they might earn a win. But those nice studio people wouldn’t be sneaky enough to try stuff like that, would they?

Image credit: Roman Polanski: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Will Best Director nominee Roman Polanski return to America for the Oscars?Unlikely. Polanski has two prior nominations, but he also has one prior — and pending — charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor awaiting him in the United States. The ”Pianist” director skipped town hours before sentencing back in 1978 (Polanski had pleaded guilty), and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has made it clear that he’ll be arrested if he ever comes back. Though his nomination has sparked speculation of a return, both a close friend of Polanski’s and a ”Pianist” spokesperson tell EW.com that he’s staying where he is — in Paris. LADA rep Sandi Gibbons adds that Polanski’s camp has made no effort to arrange for his return.

Image credit: Y Tu Mama Tambien: Daniel Daza

How did two of the year’s most talked-about imports, ”Y Tu Mama Tambien” and ”Talk to Her,” get snubbed in the Best Foreign Language Film category?There’s no snub — not by the Academy anyway. Mexico’s ”Y Tu Mamá También” and Spain’s ”Talk to Her” simply weren’t submitted for nomination by their respective countries. ”Y Tu” premiered south of the border in 2001, making it ineligible for 2002’s foreign-picture competition. ”Talk to Her” lost out when Spain inexplicably submitted ”Mondays in the Sun,” which failed to get a nomination. Still, the two pictures remained eligible in domestic categories (”Y Tu” because of a March 2002 U.S. release), and both got Best Original Screenplay nominations. ”Talk to Her” director Pedro Almodóvar also received a nod for Best Director, which could be the Academy’s attempt at a makeup call.

Image credit: Treasure Planet: Walt Disney Pictures

How did ”Treasure Planet” rate a Best Animated Feature nomination?According to Academy rules established in 2001, there will be three Animated Feature nominees if between 8 and 14 films are submitted. With more than 14 submissions, five films will be nominated. In 2002 only nine films were submitted, but this year 17 films qualified for submission, which leads to five nominees. Benefiting most from this year’s expanded field: ”Treasure Planet,” the $140 million dud that has so far earned a paltry $40 million and some of the worst reviews a Disney cartoon has ever seen. A win would be the film’s first award of the season; even the Razzies — the booby prizes for the year’s worst films — failed to nominate it.

Image credit: The Hours: Clive Coote

Why wasn’t ”The Hours” — with arguably the most talked-about cosmetic work of the year (Nicole’s nose) — nominated for Best Makeup?Best Makeup rules state that as few as one movie can be nominated, and the field was limited this year when films failed to receive adequate ratings at a preliminary selection meeting. Also, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Academy sources have suggested ”The Hours” was disqualified because of digital touchups to Nicole Kidman’s nose, ”The Two Towers” may have been overlooked because the Tolkien trilogy was acknowledged last year, ”Chicago” wasn’t historically accurate enough in its hair and makeup stylings, and films like ”Star Trek Nemesis” suffered because voters were limited in access to screener tapes. That leaves two nominated films, ”Frida” and ”The Time Machine.” Guess Salma’s unibrow wasn’t computer generated.

Image credit: My Big Fat Greek Wedding: IFC Films

Why are ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and ”Gangs of New York” up for Original Screenplay? Aren’t they adapted from other works?”Gangs of New York” and ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” don’t seem so original. The ”Gangs” script, which shares a title and subject matter with Herbert Asbury’s 1928 novel, was submitted in the Original category, and the Writer’s Branch Executive Committee approved. Their ruling: ”An original screenplay classification can be given to a work derived from…existing source materials that have been put together in an ‘original’ way.” Phew. As for Nia Vardalos’ ”Big Fat” script, the Los Angeles Times indicated that she said it was adapted from her one-woman show. But a spokesperson for the film tells EW.com it happened the other way around: ”[Nia] wrote the screenplay, couldn’t sell it, and decided to make it a show.” At least we know it’s not based on the TV show…right?