Agence France Presse


New Zealander Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" was the big winner at Sunday’s BAFTA awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars, picking up five prizes including best picture and putting it in pole position for the Academy Awards later this month.

The film, which last week picked up the Directors Guild of America’s prestigious annual filmmaking award and is vying for 11 Oscars, also won BAFTAs for best adapted screenplay, cinematography, special effects as well as a special award voted by the public for film of the year.

Americans Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson won the best actor and best actress awards for their roles in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’, a gentle comedy set in Tokyo.

Best director went to Australian Peter Weir for ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’. Bill Nighy was named best supporting actor for ‘Love Actually’, while Renee Zellwegger won the best supporting actress for ‘Cold Mountain’.

One surprise was the poor showing of Anthony Mingella’s ‘Cold Mountain’, which was nominated in 13 categories — one more than ‘The Return of the King’ — but came away with only two. ‘The Return of the King’ beat ‘Big Fish’, ‘Cold Mountain’, ‘Lost in Translation’ and ‘Master and Commander’ to win the ceremony’s top prize.