Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King also won Academy Awards for Art Direction-Set Decoration (Grant Major, Dan Hennah, and Alan Lee), Costume Design (Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor), Directing (Peter Jackson), Film Editing (Jamie Selkirk), Makeup (Richard Taylor and Peter King), Music – Original Score (Howard Shore), Music – Original Song (Into the West, music and lyric by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, and Annie Lennox), Sound Mixing (Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges, and Hammond Peek), Visual Effects (Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, and Alex Funke), and Writing – Adapted Screenplay (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson).
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was nominated for 11 awards and won them all.
Peter Jackson personally took home three Oscars as director, co-writer of the screenplay, and a producer of the film. Fran Walsh became the first woman to receive three awards for the same film, winning in the Best Picture, Original Song, and Writing categories.
One of the producers of the Canadian film The Barbarian Invasions, which won in the Foreign Language Film category, said with relief in her onstage speech, “We’re so thankful that Lord of the Rings did not qualify in this category.”
Billy Crystal was the host for the eighth time.
Sofia Coppola became the third woman, and the first American one, to be nominated for directing.
Finding Nemo was named the year’s Best Animated Feature Film.
On June 12, 2003, actor Gregory Peck died at the age of 87. Peck won an Academy Award for Best Actor for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” received four other Best Actor nominations and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and served as Academy President 1967—1970.
On June 29, 2003, Katharine Hepburn, four-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress, died at the age of 96. Hepburn, who received 12 total nominations, is the only performer in Academy history to have won four awards for acting.
To Blake Edwards in recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work for the screen.