Story by: Jack Foley
THE Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King dominated the 2004 Oscars ceremony, winning
11 awards from 11 nominations, including the much sought after
best film and best director prizes.
The clean sweep surpassed expectations and helped the epic to
equal the record trophy tally at the Hollywood ceremony, which
was held , jointly, by Ben Hur and Titanic.
The film, which marks the final part in Peter Jackson's trilogy
of Tolkien's books, also won for best score, song, film editing,
make-up, costume design, best adapted screenplay, art direction,
visual effects and sound mixing.
In doing so, it also became the first fantasy film to win best
Needless to say, Jackson was overwhelmed, describing the achievement
as 'unbelievable', and adding:
"I'm so honoured that the Academy and its members have seen
past the trolls and the wizards and the hobbits and are recognising
fantasy this year."
He had earlier praised his 'wonderful cast', which included the
likes of Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando
The film had been expected to triumph in the two main categories
at the ceremony - but few dared to predict it would make the clean
Yet it signalled Hollywood's desire to reward Jackson and his
team for making three ground-breaking and hugely popular movies,
particularly as Academy members had been slated for 'snubbing'
the two previous Lord of the Rings films in the major categories.
The awards haul adds to the film's tremendous Box Office success,
where it is officially now the second highest grossing film of
all time, behind Titanic, with more than $1bn (£534m) in
A night of few surprises...
In a night of few surprises, all four of the main acting honours
went to pre-ceremony favourites.
Sean Penn and Tim Robbins secured a double delight for Clint
Eastwood's Mystic River, winning
best actor and supporting actor, respectively, while the hotly-tipped
Charlize Theron won best actress for Monster.
Oscar favourite, Renee Zellweger took the best supporting actress
statuette for Cold Mountain
- which marked Harvey Weinstein's only real success of the night.
Penn's award, which many believed had been a long time in coming,
paid tribute to his peers, while also touching on the politics
for which he has become renowned.
"If there's one thing actors know - other than that there
aren't any WMDs - it's that there is no such thing as 'best' in
acting," he joked.
While his co-star, Robbins, declined to become in any way political,
saying: "This is really a lovely honour. I'd like to thank
my fellow nominees, who were all spectacular."
As usual, it was the women who became emotional, with Theron's
voice faltering as she thanked her mother.
The South African born actress, who plays serial killer, Aileen
Wuornos in Monster, described her year as 'incredible', before
telling her mum: "You have sacrificed so much for me to be
able to live here and make my dreams come true."
And Cold Mountain star, Zellweger, also said she was 'overwhelmed',
before thanking her 'immigrant mom and dad' for 'never saying
Of the other winners, Peter Weir's Master
and Commander took two statuettes, for best sound editing
and best cinematography, while Sofia Coppola (who had, 24 hours
earlier, triumphed at the Independent Spirit Awards) picked up
the best original screenplay prize, for her film, Lost
Finding Nemo won best animated
feature, as widely expected, while The
Fog of War was named best documentary feature.
Its producer, Errol Morris, gave the night's most political speech,
stating that: "Forty years ago this country went down a rabbit
hole in Vietnam and millions died - I fear we're going down a
rabbit hole once again."
Best foreign language film went to French-Canadian comedy drama,
The Barbarian Invasions.
The glittering ceremony was hosted by comedian, Billy Crystal,
who has now compèred eight times, and who cracked plenty
of jokes, including one at the expense of Mel Gibson's The
Passion of the Christ.
And there were also tributes to Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn
- who both died during the last 12 months.