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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 18:09 GMT
Sir Ian tips Rings for Oscars glory
McKellen (right) went to the Baftas with co-star Orlando Bloom
Sir Ian [R] went to the Baftas with co-star Orlando Bloom
Sir Ian McKellen has predicted that Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will win an Oscar for best film following its success at this year's Baftas.

The British Academy gave the adaptation of JRR Tolkien's fantasy tale five gongs, including best film and director, but Sir Ian was beaten to best actor by Russell Crowe.

The movie has been nominated for 13 Oscars and is hotly tipped to walk off with the main prize.

It was likely that the most famous book of fiction in the 20th Century would have a ready-made audience waiting for it

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian is also up for best supporting actor Oscar at the Academy Awards for his role as the wizard Gandalf.

He told BBC One's Breakfast his money was on Rings winning best film.

"The perceived wisdom is that the academy would not vote for a fantasy film. But I think this does not look like a fantasy film. It looks like it could happen," he said.

McKellen is up for an Academy Award
He is up for an Academy Award
However he admitted that there were major differences between the British and American voting panels.

"The consistency of the American voters is pretty wide. There are old Hollywood people, living in old peoples homes, who may not get to see all the movies."

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of the JRR Tolkien trilogy to be released.


The other two films of the books are due for release later this year and in 2003.

The series cost $270m (189m) to make, and it took more than 18 months to film, using a crew of 2,400.

The movie's producers, New Line, took a huge gamble by making the films back-to-back in New Zealand.

Sir Ian admitted the series could have been a disastrous flop.

"It was likely that the most famous book of fiction in the 20th Century would have a ready-made audience waiting for it.


"However if they hadn't liked what Peter Jackson had done, there would have been problems."

The actor added there was still a lot of work to be done on the remaining movies.

"I began wondering halfway through the movie whether we were making the most expensive home movie of all time," he said.

"Every word of the movie is dubbed. We've still got the other two movies to do."


The Baftas also prompted junior Culture minister Kim Howells to say in the House of Commons that it is a "great shame" that banks are not more willing to invest in British films.

Dr Howells paid tribute to the Film Council-backed Gosford Park, which won best British film, saying it was a "weakness" in the UK that banks and other financial agencies were "unwilling" to see that "films can be a very, very good investment".

"They are willing to put their money into far, far riskier investments. Witness the crashes and bombs that occurred when banks were eager to pour their money into it," he said.

The 74th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday 24 March in a lavish ceremony at the Oscars' new Hollywood home, the Kodak Theater.

Sir Ian McKellen, star of Lord of the Rings
"Every film project is a gamble"
Was Harry Potter snubbed by Bafta?



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