The win marks the first time a movie musical has taken home the Best Picture Oscar in more than three decades ("Oliver!" was the last, in 1968), and tops a victorious awards season for a film that producer Martin Richards had been trying to make for as long.
"Chicago" garnered six awards in all, including one for Catherine Zeta-Jones for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of killer showgirl Velma Kelly. (Zeta-Jones was nominated in a category that also included her "Chicago" co-star, Queen Latifah.) Zeta-Jones was the only the actor from the Miramax film who received an Academy Award. Renée Zellweger lost the Best Actress prize to Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), and John C. Reilly lost the Best Supporting Oscar to Chris Cooper ("Adaptation").
Other "Chicago" winners included John Myhre and Gord Sim for Best Art Direction, Colleen Atwood for Best Costume Design, Martin Walsh for Best Film Editing and Michael Minkler, Dominick Tavella and David Lee for Best Sound.
Vying with "Chicago" for Best Picture honors were “The Hours" — featuring a screenplay by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry — "Gangs of New York," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "The Pianist." Director Rob Marshall lost out to Roman Polanski, a surprise winner for "The Pianist."
The Oscar broadcast featured a performance of the one new song composed especially for the film of “Chicago.” John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “I Move On” — which runs over the film’s end credits — was performed by “Chicago” co-stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah. The song lost to "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile." "Chicago" has already grossed more than $125 million.
Featuring a star-studded cast led by Renée Zellweger (Roxie Hart), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Velma Kelly) and Richard Gere (Billy Flynn), the "Chicago" company also includes John C. Reilly (Amos Hart), Dominic West (Fred Caseley), Christine Baranski (Mary Sunshine), Queen Latifah (Mama Morton) as well as Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu, Mya, Marc Calamia, Deidre Goodwin, Sebastian La Cause, Mary Ann Lamb and a cameo from original Chicago star Chita Rivera. Bill Condon wrote the "Chicago" screenplay, and the film's cinematographer was Dion Beebe; the Tony winning lighting team of Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer lit the film. John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical, which features such songs as "All That Jazz," "Mister Cellophane," and "Nowadays," debuted on Broadway in June 1975 with choreography by the late Bob Fosse.