Lord of the Rings Cast: Mark J. Terrill/AP/Wide World
EW Staff
March 01, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Best Country On (Middle) Earth
New Zealand
Some 25,000 people, mostly New Zealanders, were involved in the making of the ”Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and by the end of the ceremony, it seemed as if most of them had been thanked by a winner. By the end of the night, as ”Return of the King” went 11 for 11 (tying the record number of wins held by ”Titanic” and ”Ben-Hur”), a large contingent of hobbits and elves gathered on stage — and ”Ring”-master Peter Jackson advised Billy Crystal to make his next movie in New Zealand. Given how many precioussss trophies went to the Kiwis, Crystal — and most of Hollywood — may think twice about that suggestion.

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