Jack Nicholson wanted to boycott the 2003 Academy Awards because of the war in Iraq, Adrien Brody revealed in a recent interview with the Sunday Times (via Yahoo). The United States’ invasion of Iraq began just days before the 2003 Oscars were awarded. According to Brody, Nicholson invited all of the 2003 Best Actor nominees to his home to discuss how to respond to the war. Nicholson reportedly urged the nominees in the category to boycott the ceremony.
“I said, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’m going,'” Brody told the Times. “I said, ‘I have to show up for a bit. My parents are coming. This doesn’t happen very often. I know you are all winners. You can sit it out. But I can’t.’”
Brody was nominated for his performance in Roman Polanksi’s ‘The Pianist’. He was the only first-time nominee in the category, which also included nominees Nicholson (“About Schmidt”), Nicolas Cage (“Adaptation”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Gangs of New York”) and Michael Caine (“The Silent American The men decided not to boycott. Brody eventually won the Oscar and infamously kissed presenter Halle Berry when he arrived on stage. The actor addressed the war in Iraq in his acceptance speech.
“I am very sad tonight for receiving an award at such a strange time,” Brody said in his speech. “My experience making this film made me very aware of the grief and dehumanization of people in times of war, and the consequences of war. Whoever you believe in, be it God or Allah, may he watch over you, and let us pray for a peaceful and speedy solution.”
Brody told the Times that he “can’t even watch” his Oscar-winning performance as Holocaust survivor Władysław Szpilman, given the subject matter. The actor said: “I can’t. I cry a little bit when I talk about it.”
At the 2003 Oscars, Brody’s win was considered one of the biggest surprises of the night. Most pundits expected Day-Lewis to win, as he collected awards from the SAG Awards and BAFTAs ahead of the Oscars. Nicholson was also confused because he had won the Golden Globe.