- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” won the 2004 Golden Globe Award for best movie drama, the final installment of the Tolkien trilogy, directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson, who won the Golden Globe Award for best director yesterday.

The award was payoff for a bold cinematic gamble in which Mr. Jackson shot all three “Rings” films at the same time with a combined budget of more than $300 million.

Collecting his award, Mr. Jackson apologized for his slightly unkempt appearance.

“I didn’t realize that seven years on this movie would end up turning me into a hobbit,” he said.

He saluted the commitment of the cast and crew in embarking on such an extended shoot, most of which was done on location in his native New Zealand.

One-time Hollywood bad boy Sean Penn won the 2004 Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for his role as the distraught father of a murder victim in the crime thriller “Mystic River.”

Charlize Theron won best actress in a drama for her startling role a vagabond serial killer in “Monster.”

“This is so crazy. I’m from a farm in South Africa. This is insane,” said Miss Theron, who was rendered virtually unrecognizable in the movie by a complete body and facial makeover.

Diane Keaton as an older woman in love in “Something’s Gotta Give” and Bill Murray as an aging actor in a platonic romance with a younger woman in “Lost in Translation” collected Golden Globes for lead comedy performances.

“Getting to play a woman to love at 57 is like reaching for the stars with a stepladder. I know I got lucky,” Miss Keaton said.

Mr. Murray thanked “Lost in Translation” writer-director Sofia Coppola and went on to dryly mock Hollywood award speeches, declaring he had fired all his agents and representatives and had no one else to thank.

Miss Coppola collected the best screenplay trophy, and thanked her father — “The Godfather” director and co-writer Francis Ford Coppola, calling him “a great screenwriting teacher.”

“Lost in Translation” went on win the best comedy award.

Among TV nominees, HBO’s six-hour adaptation of playwright Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” won four trophies, including best miniseries or TV movie.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” the final installment in the blockbuster fantasy trilogy, also gathered two musical awards, one for composer Howard Shore for best original score and another for the best movie song “Into the West,” which was performed by Annie Lennox.

Tim Robbins and Renee Zellweger collected supporting movie performer honors.

Mr. Robbins’ supporting role as a grown child-abuse survivor suspected of murder in “Mystic River” earned him the first trophy of the evening.

Miss Zellweger received the supporting movie actress award for playing a tough-as-bark backwoods woman in “Cold Mountain.” She previously won two lead comedy actress Golden Globes for “Nurse Betty” in 2001 and last year for “Chicago.”

Mr. Zellweger told the crowd that playing the character of Ruby was “one of my greatest joys.” To her co-stars Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, she said: “It was a privilege to shovel out the barn with you.”

Best movie drama nominees were “Cold Mountain,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Mystic River” and “Seabiscuit.”

Although the Globes are distributed by a relatively small group — about 90 journalists who cover entertainment for foreign-based media outlets — a winning spot on the nationally televised NBC ceremony is highly coveted.

Many actors and filmmakers use the Globes as a way to pique audience interest in their films and build momentum for the more prestigious Academy Awards, which are judged by about 5,700 industry figures.

The Globes have a history of honoring future Oscar winners, including “Titanic,” “American Beauty” and “Gladiator.”

Besides winning best TV movie or miniseries, “Angels in America” won three performing awards. Co-star Meryl Streep was picked best TV movie actress and Jeffrey Wright supporting TV actor, while Mary-Louise Parker won TV supporting actress.

Sarah Jessica Parker won best comedy series actress for “Sex and the City,” which is in its last season on HBO, and Fox’s real-time thriller “24” won best drama series.

The Globes event came just two days before tomorrow morning’s announcement of the Oscar nominations. The Oscar ceremony is set for Feb. 29, about three weeks earlier than previous years.

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