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EDITIONS
Monday, 13 January, 2003, 09:38 GMT
Winners absent from People's Choice
Friends
Friends was voted best TV comedy

Blockbuster movies Spider-Man and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring have been named joint winners for best movie at the People's Choice Awards.

Box office favourites and familiar TV names dominated the annual Los Angeles ceremony, with winners determined by a nationwide poll of Americans.

Mel Gibson was named favourite motion picture actor, while Julia Roberts won the favourite actress award, for the eighth time.

Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts: A firm favourite
Gibson, who could not be at the ceremony, accepted his award in a pre-recorded message on video.

He said it was a "great honour" to win.

"Of all the multitude of awards that rain down at this time of year I think this is the most important to me," he added.

Roberts was also absent from the ceremony. TV viewers were shown a montage of clips from previous acceptance speeches made by the actress for the same award.

Low budget

A popular winner in the favourite comedy motion picture category was My Big Fat Greek Wedding - the sleeper hit produced by Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson.

The low budget film is the most successful independent film of all time.

In the TV section, Friends and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation dominated the main categories.

CSI took favourite television dramatic series, displacing long-time winner ER, and favourite new television dramatic series for the spin off show CSI: Miami.

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson starred in the crop circle thriller Signs in 2002
Friends was named top comedy and Matthew Perry, who plays Chandler Bing, accepted the award on behalf of the cast.

"We've just kind of realised that nine years ago we won best new show at the People's Choice Awards and here we are winning best show - well, that's kind of neat," he said.

Jennifer Aniston, who last year won an Emmy award for her role as Rachel, was named favourite female television performer.

Carrying on

She arrived at the ceremony sporting a walking stick after injuring her foot.

"This is an unbelievable honour - thank you for loving our show for as long as you have," she said.

"I thank these writers for writing characters that have lasted as long as they have and kept your interest as long as they have."

It was confirmed over Christmas that Friends would return for a 10th season - with all six stars staying with the show.

Favourite reality-based TV programme went to Survivor: Thailand.

Nia Vardalos and John Corbett
Nia Vardalos wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and co-starred with John Corbett
The show's British creator, Mark Burnett, said it was "the most important award you can win".

He added: "It is from the fans, from the people, we totally appreciate it."

Reflecting views

Eminem - who was not at the ceremony - and country star Faith Hill were named favourite musical performers.

There was a tie for favourite musical group or band between the Dixie Chicks and US rockers Creed - leaving boy band 'NSync out in the cold.

The People's Choice Awards traditionally kick off the gong-giving season in Hollywood.

However, their choices tend not to reflect the views of critics or industry insiders who select the winners at more prestigious events like the Oscars or Grammys.

Next Sunday it is the turn of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to present its awards - the Golden Globes - that are considered a reasonably good indicator of which movies will do well at the Academy Awards in March.

See also:

13 Jan 03 | Entertainment
07 May 02 | Entertainment
08 Jan 03 | Entertainment
22 Dec 02 | Entertainment
15 Dec 02 | Entertainment
05 Dec 02 | Entertainment
05 Jan 03 | Entertainment
14 Jan 02 | Entertainment
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