So “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” is the odds-on favorite to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
That is all good and fine, but the question remains whether or not it will finally win the Oscar this time around. Oscar voters passed over LOTR the first two chances they had and their choices haven’t fared well over time. Picking “A Beautiful Mind” over “Fellowship of the Ring” two years ago should be an embarrassment to them today and “Chicago” over “Two Towers” is rapidly approaching that same status. But if “Return of the King” wins the big prize this year (and Peter Jackson gets the Director Oscar) then I will consider all the past slights forgiven.
This year I was worried that films like “Master and Commander” starring Russell Crowe or “Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise would displace LOTR:ROTK on Oscar night. But now both of those fills seem to have run out of steam and the new favorite of the snobby critic class is “Cold Mountain” with Jude Law and Nicole Kidman (again).
LOTR:ROTK doesn’t even make the Top 10 for 2003 according to the snobby National Board of Review. Their list includes "Mystic River" at No. 1 followed in order by "The Last Samurai," "The Station Agent," "21 Grams," "House of Sand and Fog," "Lost in Translation," "Cold Mountain," "In America," "Seabiscuit," and "Master and Commander."
Needless to say, I find this group’s assessment to be beneath contempt.
It is a shame that the snobby critics won’t give any acting nominations to the superb LOTR cast. Ian McKellen (Gandalf) should have been nominated for Best Actor for Fellowship and Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) and Sean Bean (Boromir) deserved Supporting nods in the same film. Andy Serkis deserved a nomination as Gollum in Two Towers. Now they are talking about Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Sean Astin (Sam) as potential nominees this time around.