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Return of the King featured in AFI's top films of 2003

Story by: Jack Foley

THE Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has been named as one of the film’s of the year by the American Film Institute (AFI), despite not being released until December 17.

The final installment in Tolkien’s trilogy made the top ten, along with popular family hit, Finding Nemo, and the likes of Mystic River and Master and Commander.

The AFI publishes its list of the favourite films of each year on an annual basis, although it does not rank them in any order. A similar list exists for TV, in which Alias and Everybody Love Raymond also figure highly.

The winners were chosen by a 13-person jury, comprised of critics, film-makers and scholars.

Commenting on the choices, Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI director and chief executive officer, said: "I think what AFI is trying to create is an almanac for the 21st Century, so we can look back and see what we consider excellence in narrative storytelling in 2003.

"We don't rank them because what we want to celebrate is the creative collaboration in front and behind the camera that made these stories possible.".

Other films that made it on to the movie top 10 list included Tom Cruise’s epic, The Last Samurai, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman's The Human Stain, and Bill Murray’s sublime Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola.

The list is also perceived as another strong indication of the films which are likely to feature prominently at the Oscars, given that many of 2002’s selections, such as Chicago and The Hours, enjoyed plenty of Academy Award success.

The complete list is as follows… American Splendor
Finding Nemo
The Human Stain
In America
The Last Samurai
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: Far Side of the World
Mystic River

The AFI will hold a special lunch, in Los Angeles, on January 22, to honour the creative teams behind each film.


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