By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 12, 2004 01:00 PM

The 30th Annual People’s Choice Awards set sail Sunday night, with the public choosing “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” as favorite movie, while “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” took the favorite drama prize. “Bruce Almighty,” starring Jim Carrey, was named favorite comedy.

During the show, which aired on CBS, a manic Carrey, 41, accepted his award and said: “Not only is this an important win for the movie, it’s just great to know … the whole Hollywood community has decided to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior … thank you, my Jewish friends.”

Mel Gibson, 47, named favorite film actor, appeared somewhat perplexed by the choice. “I’m rather surprised at winning this since I wasn’t actually in a motion picture much this year or last year — maybe that’s why, huh?”

Besides Gibson, return winners were Julia Roberts (who won for favorite film actress), Ray Romano and Jennifer Aniston (favorite male and female TV performers). Tom Hanks was named favorite all-time entertainer.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was selected as favorite TV drama series. “Friends” won for favorite comedy series.

“I love my job and I love that the people have supported our show for the last 10 years,” said Aniston, 34, who sent along her thanks and acceptance via a video message.

Beyonce Knowles and Faith Hill tied for favorite female musical performer, while Tim McGraw was favorite male musical performer. The winners were determined by a nationwide poll conducted by the Gallup Organization.

In another weekend awards ceremony, the ninth annual Critics’ Choice Awards (organized by the Broadcast Critics Association) picked “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” as its best picture. The film also won for best director Peter Jackson, ensemble cast and composer Howard Shore.

Director Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” won two prizes, best actor and supporting actor, for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, respectively, while Eastwood, 73, received a lifetime achievement award.

Other winners included Charlize Theron as best actress in “Monster,” and Renee Zellweger for her supporting turn in the Civil War romance “Cold Mountain.”