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Oscar night glory for emotional Catherine

Mar 25 2003

By Hugo Duncan, Daily Post


WELSH screen star Catherine Zeta Jones scooped her first Oscar at this year's awards for her role as ruthless murderess Velma Kelly in hit movie Chicago.

She beat off stiff opposition from Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates, Julianne Moore and co-star Queen Latifah to take the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

An emotional Zeta Jones, whose second child is due in two weeks, said: "My hormones are too way out of control to be dealing with this."

Chicago won five other awards, including the coveted best picture.

Zeta Jones collected her Oscar from Sir Sean Connery and joked: "A Scotsman giving a Welsh girl an award, I can't believe it."

She went on: "To my son Dylan watching at home, and to my husband who I love, I share this award with you."

Earlier in the evening the heavily-pregnant 33-year-old star took to the stage to duet with Queen Latifah on the Chicago song I Move On.

Despite her pregnancy she was determined to perform at the ceremony and sang live, watched by her proud husband. A medical team and ambulance were on stand-by in case she suddenly went into labour.

Old friends of Zeta Jones who stayed up into the early hours of the morning to witness her Oscar triumph on TV toasted her victory yesterday. Singer Bonnie Tyler, who lives in Zeta Jones' native Swansea and sang at her New York wedding, said: "With all the love and dedication that she has put into her work over the years she really deserved to win the Oscar.

"We were all rooting for her and are absolutely thrilled for her and her lovely family.

"Robert and I are celebrating her success with lots of Champagne and we are sure there will be many more nominations in the future. We are very proud of her."

Hazel Johnson, the actress's dance teacher from the age of four until she left Swansea for the West End as a teenager, said: "I am overjoyed by the news - she really deserved to win the Oscar.

"I stayed up to watch the ceremony through the night and I always thought that she was in with a really good chance.

"She had a wonderful presence in Chicago and I cannot imagine a better role to showcase her talents.

"As a young girl Catherine always had a wealth of talent that shined through in all she did."

The Oscar triumph was a fairytale ending for Zeta Jones who has dreamed of stardom since she was a little girl.

Few in Hollywood have pursued fame and success with such fierce determination.

"I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life - but that's because I'm so ambitious. I've always admitted it.

That's why I'm here today," she said recently.

The years of hard work have certainly paid off and her Oscar win will propel her into the ranks of Hollywood's highest paid actresses.

She lives a life of luxury with husband Michael Douglas, dividing her time between homes in Bermuda, Manhattan, Los Angeles, Majorca and Aspen.

Irish band U2 left empty-handed after their song for the Gangs Of New York soundtrack, The Hands That Built America, lost out to Eminem's Lose Yourself from his debut film 8 Mile.

But there was a win for British writer Ronald Harwood, who picked up the best adapted screenplay Oscar for The Pianist.

Seven-times Oscar-nominee Peter O'Toole was given an honorary award by the Academy for his contribution to cinema history.


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