Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Queen Latifah, the stars of Rob Marshall's 2002 Best Picture Academy Award winner Chicago, will get together once again – this time, as presenters at the 2013 Oscar ceremony. Telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made the announcement earlier today. (Image: Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere Chicago movie.)
Now, keep in mind that this year's Oscar ceremony has a Hollywood Musical theme, and that ten years ago Rob Marshall's Chicago became the last musical (to date) to win a Best Picture Academy Award. Coincidentally, it's also been ten years since a DGA Award winner failed to take home the Best Director Academy Award: an occurrence bound to be repeated at the 2013 Oscar ceremony, as DGA winner Ben Affleck failed to be shortlisted by the Academy's Directors Branch. For the record: Although Rob Marshall was the early 2003 DGA winner, The Pianist's Roman Polanski was that year's Best Director Oscar winner.
Chicago: Oscar nominations in the acting categories
Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Queen Latifah were nominated for their performances in Chicago; Richard Gere, however, was bypassed by the Academy. Jones and Queen Latifah were shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actress category; Zellweger, in a role previously played by Phyllis Haver (1927, in Cecil B. DeMille's saucy silent*) and Ginger Rogers (1942, William A. Wellman's Roxie Hart), was a Best Actress nominee.
Renée Zellweger lost that year's Oscar to Nicole Kidman, who played Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry's The Hours. Curiously, Zellweger did take home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar statuette the following year, for her performance in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, starring none other than Nicole Kidman. Queen Latifah lost to Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose husband Michael Douglas and father-in-law Kirk Douglas announced Chicago as the year's Best Picture.
As a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq shortly before the ceremony, the 2003 Oscar telecast was reportedly the least watched in history. (Since then, the Oscars' official TV-ratings nadir was reached by the 2008 ceremony, the year Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men won Best Picture.)
I should add that Richard Gere was a potential Best Actor nominee this year for Nicholas Jarecki's Arbitrage, co-starring Susan Sarandon. Yet, Gere once again went nomination-less. In fact, Gere, whose film career stretches back to the mid-'70s, has never been nominated for an Oscar.
2013 Oscar: Nominated Movies, Actors, Directors
- Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Denzel Washington, Flight.
- Best Actress: Naomi Watts, The Impossible; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
- Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables; Amy Adams, The Master; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Sally Field, Lincoln.
- Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Alan Arkin, Argo; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained.
The nine Best Picture nominees are: Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, Lee's Life of Pi, Ben Affleck's Argo, Haneke's Amour, Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, Spielberg's Lincoln, Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, and Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.
The Best Foreign Language Film nominees are Pablo Larraín's No, Chile; Michael Haneke's Amour, Austria; Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg's Kon-Tiki, Norway; Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair, Denmark; and Kim Nguyen's War Witch, Canada.
Oscar 2013 presenters and performers
Besides Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar 2013 presenters and/or performers include The Avengers' Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Samuel L. Jackson (but, unfortunately, not Tom Hiddleston); 2012 Oscar winners Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), and Octavia Spencer (The Help); in addition to Daniel Radcliffe, Channing Tatum, Barbra Streisand, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Adele, Shirley Bassey, and Norah Jones.
Hosted by Ted director and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 24.
* Starring Phyllis Haver and Victor Varconi, the 1927 Chicago was officially credited to Cecil B. DeMille's assistant Frank Urson. DeMille, whose other 1927 release was the reverent The King of Kings, starring H.B. Warner as Jesus Christ, apparently didn't want the Jesus-Roxie connection in the minds of moviegoers and/or critics.
Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere Chicago movie photo: Miramax.