The return of the king wins 11 Oscars

29 February 2004

Peter Jackson with the 11 Oscars won by The return of the king (Alexander Turnbull Library, DX-001-739)

Peter Jackson’s last film in the epic Lord of the rings trilogy, The return of the king, won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for at the 76th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. This set a record for the largest clean sweep and equalled the highest number of wins achieved by Ben Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997).

It was the first time the Academy Awards had recognised a fantasy film as Best Picture. Jackson remarked, ‘I’m so honoured, touched, and relieved that the Academy … has seen past the trolls, the wizards and the hobbits, recognising fantasy this year.’

The award winners for The return of the king were: 

  • Best Picture: Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (Producers)
  • Best Director: Peter Jackson
  • Best Art Direction: Grant Major (Art Direction), Dan Hennah and Alan Lee (Set Direction)
  • Best Sound Mixing: Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek
  • Best Music – (Original Score): Howard Shore
  • Best Music – (Original Song): ‘Into the West’, Music and Lyrics by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore and Annie Lennox
  • Best Film Editing: Jamie Selkirk
  • Best Visual Effects: Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke
  • Best Costume Design: Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor
  • Best Makeup: Richard Taylor and Peter King
  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson

Many excited New Zealanders gathered around their television screens to watch the award ceremony, and in Wellington a special live telecast was held at the Embassy theatre, where families of the film-makers joined politicians and costumed Rings fans to watch the show.

Peter Jackson’s mammoth Lord of the rings trilogy began in 2001 with the release of The fellowship of the ring. A year later, the highly anticipated The two towers came out, increasing the fan base in New Zealand and around the world. On 1 December 2003, The return of the king had its world premiere in ‘Middle Earth’, Wellington. 

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