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Sunday, 6 January, 2002, 10:07 GMT
Tolkien film wins top award
The Lord of the Rings has received wide acclaim
The Lord of the Rings has received wide acclaim
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring has carried off the best picture award at the first American Film Institute Awards.

Based on JRR Tolkien's fantasy novel about hobbits, wizards, elves and a ring of ultimate power, the three parts of the Lord of the Rings story were shot simultaneously in New Zealand.

"It's a classic epic. It's a true adventure," said Elijah Wood, who stars as the hobbit Frodo Baggins. "I think it appeals to people of all ages, and it has for years and years."

Part two of the trilogy, The Two Towers, is due out next Christmas, with the final chapter coming in 2003.

The 12 awards in the film categories were spread among nine movies.

The only multiple winners were The Fellowship of The Ring, which also won for digital effects and production design, and Moulin Rouge, honoured for composing and editing.

'Labour of love'

Denzel Washington was named best actor for playing a flamboyantly corrupt narcotics detective in Training Day. Sissy Spacek won lead-actress honours as a grieving, vengeful mother in In the Bedroom.

Spacek, a five-time Academy Award nominee who won for Coal Miner's Daughter, could emerge as a front-runner for another Oscar.

Black Hawk Down failed to win
Black Hawk Down missed out on awards
"This film is so close to my heart," Spacek said. "It was a real labour of love, I think, for all of those who worked on it."

Robert Altman was picked as best director for his satiric murder mystery Gosford Park.

Gene Hackman of The Royal Tenenbaums and Jennifer Connelly of A Beautiful Mind earned supporting-actor prizes.

Hackman won for his role as an outcast patriarch who weasels his way back into the dysfunctional family he abandoned years earlier.

Connelly won as the conflicted wife of schizophrenic maths genius John Nash (Russell Crowe) in A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard.

In the Bedroom and Black Hawk Down had led with five nominations each, but Black Hawk Down lost in every category.

Sopranos win

Many nominees turned out for the awards, but some did not, including Washington, Altman, Hackman, Connelly and James Gandolfini, who won best actor on a TV series for The Sopranos.

Sopranos co-star Edie Falco won the best TV series actress honour. The show also won for best drama series.

"Thanks for watching the show, which we love probably more than you guys," Falco said.

Judy Davis took the best actress honour in a TV movie or mini-series as Judy Garland in Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.

Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, accepted the award on Davis' behalf.

"I would like to thank Judy Davis for her extraordinary courage, her exceptional talent and her love of my mother's memory," said Luft, a producer on the mini-series.

The AFI Awards, broadcast live on CBS, included nominees in 12 movie and seven television categories.

The new show is the first big ceremony of Hollywood's long awards season. The Golden Globes take place on 20 January, actor and director guilds give out their awards in March and the Oscars cap things off on 24 March.

See also:

03 Jan 02 | Film
Ringing in the New Year
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