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Producers shortlist Tolkien, Minghella and Eastwood



Story by: Jack Foley

AWARDS favourites, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Cold Mountain, are among the films on the shortlist to be named best release of 2003, by Hollywood producers.

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards have also selected Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, The Last Samurai and Seabiscuit, as possible recipients of the accolade, on January 17, in Los Angeles.

The PGA is one of the main Hollywood trade bodies and its ceremony is yet another strong indicator of which films are likely to feature strongly at the Oscars.

An honorary award will go to director, James Cameron, at the event, in recognition of his work on movies such as Titanic, Aliens and The Terminator.

Actor and producer, Warren Beatty, will also get an honorary award, as will veteran Italian, Dino De Laurentiis, and Saturday Night Live producer, Lorne Michaels.

As an indicator of the significance of the PGA awards, the best picture winner has gone on to be named best film at the Oscars in 10 of the past 14 years.

Last year, for instance, Chicago was named best film, and went on to be the choice of the Academy members.

The PGA panel also award TV shows for excellence, and nominees this year include the usual suspects - The West Wing and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as well as Six Feet Under, Alias and, naturally, real-time drama, 24.

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