By Stacy Jenel Smith and Stephanie DuBois
With this week's Academy Awards nominations, Oscar season is heading toward its climax -- which no doubt means another round of "Oscar Curse" stories. But taking a look back at the major winners of last year, it seems Oscar has brought only good magic this time around.Nicole Kidman
, who took home the Best Actress statuette last year for her performance as Virginia Woolf in "The Hours," failed to win a nomination this year for "Cold Mountain." Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the shape of her career is about as beautful as...well, the shape of Nicole herself.
This spring, she has the thriller "Birth" with Anne Heche due out, and she has the black comedy version of "The Stepford Wives" opposite Matthew Broderick, for director Frank Oz, due this summer. She has a political film, "The Interpreter," to begin shooting next month for director Sydney Pollack, and there's a good chance she'll follow that flick with making the big-screen version of "Bewitched," opposte Will Farrell.
Next month will mark the U.S. unveiling of Danish director Lars Von Trier's "Dogville," with a cast that includes Nicole and Lauren Bacall. An experimental work with spartan visuals, it comes with the baggage of controversy in the form of complaints that it's anti-American. Well, at least it means that Nicole isn't playing things safe.
Adrien Brody bided his time -- and seemed to indulge himself in a good long fame wallow, turning up with various beauties in a variety of glam events and chic excursions -- after THAT KISS he performed on Halle Berry
upon picking up Best Actor honors for "The Pianist."
However, the actor has been a busy boy before the cameras in recent months. Come July 30, moviegoers will see the fruits of his labors in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village." The chiller also stars Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt and Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron's daughter). It has to do with a small 19th century Pennsylvania hamlet surrounded by woods full of "mythical creatures," and the hell that breaks loose when some townspeople want to leave.
As you read this, Brody should be beginning filming on "The Jacket," which is being produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's Section Eight company and Mandalay Pictures, in Glasgbw, Scotland. In it, Brody plays a clairvoyant Gulf War Veteran wrongly imprisoned for murder, who uses his psychic powers to find out who framed him. Hottie Kiera Knightly ("Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"), Brad Renfro, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch and Kris Kristofferson are also in the cast.
Best Supporting Actress winner in 2003 for "Chicago," Catherine Zeta Jones spent much of last year on her second in-home production with hubby Michael Douglas, daughter Carys Zeta, who was born in April.
In October, Catherine started shooting the Steven Spielberg film, "The Terminal." She stars opposite Tom Hanks in the film about a Balkan immigrant whose visa becomes void after a war breaks out and erases his country from the map. He ends up residing in an airport terminal where he makes friends with the staff and falls in love with a Latin flight attendant (Zeta-Jones).
Chris Cooper, who nabbed the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Adaptation" -- and turned in a widely admired performance as the trainer of "Seabiscuit" -- last year, re-teamed with renowned indie film director John Sayles in this summer's upcoming "Silver City" with Maria Bello, Richard Dreyfuss and Darryl Hannah. Bello calls the flick a "political Western," others describe it as a murder mystery, many say it pushes the edge of the envelope.
Cooper, who returned to the stage the beginning of the year for a brief Off-Broadway stint in "Trumbo," also shot "Miller" last year with Marcia Gay Harden. In the film, set in Texas, Cooper plays an ex-con trying to put his life back together.
Roman Polanski, who won the Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist" has been busy doing preproduction on the remake of "Oliver Twist" he plans to start shooting this summer in Prague. The redux is said to be a huge project that is expected to take two years to film.