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Thu, 01 Dec 2011 17:27:16 GMT | By Kim Linekin
Oscars best picture battles

The Pianist vs. Chicago (2002)

The Pianist vs. Chicago (2002) (© Miramax/Everett / Rex Features;)
  • The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar (2010) (© 20thC.Fox/Everett /Rex Features)
  • Brokeback Mountain vs. Crash (2005) (© Lions Gate/Focus/Everett/Rex Features)
  • The Pianist vs. Chicago (2002) (© Miramax/Everett / Rex Features;)
  • Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love (1998) (© RAC/David James/Getty Images)
  • Fargo vs. The English Patient (1996) (© Miramax/Everett / Rex Features;)
  • Pulp Fiction vs. Forrest Gump (1994) (© Everett Collection / SNAP/ Rex Features)
  • Silence of the Lambs vs. Bugsy (1991) (© Tristar/Everett / Rex Features)
  • Goodfellas vs. Dances with Wolves (1990) (© Warner Bros/Everett /SNAP/Rex Features)
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"The Pianist" earned Roman Polanski the Oscar for Best Director and Adrien Brody the Best Actor award. "Chicago" only nabbed Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones. However, in the year after 9-11, the Academy was bound to side with the more comforting film when it came time to decide Best Picture. That's why "Chicago," a high energy musical about women on Death Row who ride their infamy to successful showbiz careers, took home the statue and "The Pianist," a stark account of starvation and hard-won survival during the Holocaust, got shoved aside. We would've liked to say that Polanski's rape conviction also made "The Pianist" the edgier choice, but since he won Best Director, that doesn't seem to be a factor.