Who’ll win Best Picture in 2004?
Sorry, competition: Those hobbits are on a roll. In addition to becoming the highest-grossing film released in 2003, ”The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” picked up the biggest prizes at the Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics, and Producers Guild awards. It could have won the Westminster dog show if it had entered. The entire trilogy has earned 30 Oscar nominations and six trophies so far, but only in technical categories. Will some Academy members check off ”King” in honor of all three films? Sure, but the finale alone will inspire just as many votes by itself. With the most acting nods this year (three), ”Mystic River” will likely place second thanks to heavy support from actors, the Academy’s largest branch, while the tiny-budgeted ”Lost in Translation” has the biggest emotional punch per dollar. Meanwhile, the high nomination count for ”Seabiscuit” and ”Master and Commander” indicates across-the-board support. But anything other than a hobbit stampede at the end of the telecast would mark the biggest upset in years.