February 16, 2004 09:54 AM

If the American voters feel anything like the British, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” could be a big winner when the Oscars are handed out.

The third installment in Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy nabbed top honors at the British Academy Film and Television Awards (also known as the BAFTAs) on Sunday, nabbing best picture, cinematography, adapted screenplay, special effects and the award decided by general moviegoers, the film of the year. “King” was nominated for 12 awards in all.

“King,” which did not capture any acting awards, wasn’t the show’s only big winner. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson won for best actor and best actress for their performances in Sophia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Johansson, 19, was nominated for her role in “Lost in Translation” and “Girl With a Pearl Earring.” In the best actor category, Sean Penn received two nods for his roles in “Mystic River” and “21 Grams,” despite losing to Murray. “Translation” won three awards in all, the Associated Press reports.

Other films that performed well included “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” directed by Peter Weir. The seafaring adventure, which had captured several awards earlier in the week at the London Film Critics Circle awards, took home four honors, including best director for Weir.

Other notable awards included a best supporting actress nod for Renee Zellweger for her performance in the Civil War epic “Cold Mountain,” and British-born Bill Nighy’s honor for best supporting actor for his turn in the comedy “Love Actually.”

Meanwhile, it’s just two weeks until the Oscars, which will be handed out in Hollywood on Feb. 29.

You May Like