Date: 12th February 2004

Lord of the Rings snubbed by London movie critics

The Return of the King has failed to clinch a single gong at an awards ceremony voted for by film critics.

Seafaring epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World scooped three titles, including Best Film, at the 24th Awards of the London Film Critics' Circle.

Paul Bettany, who stars in the movie alongside Russell Crowe, won Best British Actor over Oscar-nominated Jude Law, while the film also bagged the award for Best Screenwriter, at the ceremony in central London.

The 100 critics who make up the Circle snubbed The Return of the King, the final instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and an Oscar favourite, which had been nominated for Best Film and Best Director in the event.

Far From Heaven star Julianne Moore clinched the Best Actress title over the likes of rising star Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman.

Charlotte Rampling, Helen Mirren, and Julie Walters lost out in the Best British Actress award to The Mother's Anne Reid, 68, at the ceremony, held in aid of the NSPCC charity.

Emma Thompson, who has won a string of awards for Best Actress, had to make do with Best British Actress in a Supporting Role for romantic comedy Love Actually.

Bill Nighy won Best British Actor in a Supporting Role for the Richard Curtis film.

London Film Critics' Circle Chairman William Russell praised Master and Commander, saying it deserved to sweep the board.

He said: "The British are an island race, which is probably why Master and Commander, a rip roaring tale of life at sea in the age of sail, swept the board in our awards.

You can almost taste the salt in the air. Director Peter Weir, as well as handling spectacular scenes of storms at sea, also secured memorable performances from a huge cast headed by Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany."

Members of the Circle write for newspapers and magazines published across the UK.

Source: Press Release