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NEWS
Robbins, Zellweger win Oscars
Posted Mon, 01 Mar 2004

Tim Robbins and Renee Zellweger won the best supporting actor and actress Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Zellweger won the award for her portrayal of a rural country girl who helps an embattled Southern belle survive the hardships of the Civil War.

Third time was a charm for the Texas-born actress, who won her first Academy Award after being nominated over three times in a row for her roles in "Bridget Jones Diary," "Chicago" and now "Cold Mountain."

Zellweger said she was "overwhelmed" by the win and thanked "Cold Mountain" author Charles Frazier for the "gift of Ruby," the character she took to Oscar gold.

She also thanked her co-stars, Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, nominated for his role in the epic film.

Meanwhile, actor and political activist Tim Robbins earned Hollywood's blessing with his win for his role in Clint Eastwood's dark drama, "Mystic River."

The often outspoken Robbins won his first Academy Award for his portrayal of David Boyle, a man tortured by memories of childhood abuse who becomes embroiled in the investigation into the murder of an old friend's daughter.

Speaking to journalists backstage after receiving his statuette, Robbins said he never expected to be granted an Oscar, especially after a major public row last year over his and his partner Susan Sarandon's intense opposition to the US-led war in Iraq.

"The real significance for me at this moment in time (is) I never would have dreamed it a year ago, because so many negative things were being written when Susan and I opposed the war," Robbins said.

"I'm sure a lot of people voted for me that don't agree with my politics," he said.

When accepting his golden statuette on stage from last year's best supporting actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, he made a direct appeal to frightened victims of child abuse to speak out against their tormentors.

"In this movie I play a victim of abuse and violence and if you are a person who has had that tragedy befall you, there is no shame and no weakness in seeking help and counselling.

"It is sometimes the strongest thing you can do to stop the cycle of violence," he told the audience and up to a billion television viewers watching the 76th annual Academy Awards show.

Robbins (45) who has never been nominated in an acting category, although he has been nominated as a director, also thanked Oscar-winner Sarandon and his director, Hollywood legend Eastwood.

"Susan, thanks for being the best friend one could have. And Clint Eastwood, you are so great, you are such an amazing director and you are making my mantel very crowded," he said brandishing his statue. ;

Backstage, Robbins paid tribute to his co-stars, including Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon, and Eastwood, saying it "reminded me of what it was like to be on my first film."

He also revealed his plans for his new trophy, which he said would put together with Sarandon's statuette, which she won in 1995 for the film he directed "Dead Man Walking," in their Los Angeles home.

"We're going to get them together in a little room, turn out the lights, light a few candles and see what happens," Robbins quipped.

The win marks Hollywood's acceptance of the talent of Robbins, an avid Green Party activist notorious in Tinseltown for speaking out about politically sensitive issues.

While industry executives often hold their breath when he rises to speak for fear of controversy, he said before Sunday's Oscar he did not plan to make a scene.

AFP

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