Director Peter Jackson and actor Elijah Wood have spoken of their amazement at The Return of the King sweeping the board at this year's Oscars.
Jackson shows off two of the Oscars
Jackson was hotly tipped to take the awards for best picture and best director for The Return of the King and he was not left disappointed.
The epic fantasy eventually cleaned up in 11 categories out of the 11 it was nominated for, including best film.
"It was a complete surprise in terms of the sweep," Jackson said.
"I thought we'd win something obviously because with 11 nominations it would be a bit of a bummer if we didn't win anything - but not a sweep the way we did it," he told the BBC's Tom Brook.
Sean Penn won best actor for his role in Mystic River, with Charlize Theron named best actress for her part as a serial killer in Monster.
Renee Zellweger and Tim Robbins won acting prizes for supporting roles for Cold Mountain and Mystic River.
The Return of the King's haul of 11 statuettes equalled the totals won by Ben Hur in 1960 and Titanic in 1998. But those two films did not win every award for which they were nominated.
The New Zealander said he was nervous as he waited to see if they had won the best film award.
Scarlett Johansson brought old-fashioned glamour
"There were moments of absolute joy when the crew were winning, it was amazing but it's excruciating because best director and best film are the last awards, it takes a hell of a long time to get to those," he said.
The director had thanked many in his native New Zealand during his acceptance speech and his countrymen and women were quick to return the tributes.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "It's just blowing everybody away."
She said the result was an "unbelievable" advertisement for New Zealand.
"It's an incredibly proud day to be a New Zealander, to
see Lord of the Rings sweep the field... it was simply
amazing," she said.
She added: "It has been an outstanding year for the New Zealand film industry, highlighted by the massive success of the Lord of the Rings and accompanied by the wonderful achievements of Whale Rider and Keisha Castle-Hughes."
"I'm absolutely stunned," said Kerry
Prendergast, mayor of Wellington, where the film's production was based.
"I've had to wipe a few tears away with every
Oscar. It's wonderful for our country, not just for
creativity and innovation but also the genius of the people
Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in the trilogy, said he was also shocked that the film won in so many categories.
"I was pretty surprised. I didn't really expect a full sweep of every single nomination, it's pretty wonderful," he said.
Wood said everyone involved in the Lord of the Rings was delighted for Jackson.
"It was particularly wonderful to see Peter Jackson up there for best director, that was the one we felt was the most profound and we wanted most to win," he said.
The 'hobbits' show their delight
"It's him, it's his vision, it took thousands of artists and passion and love to make it come together but it was his vision we were all following.
"He's devoted seven years of his life to make these films come to life. He deserves everything," he added.
Jackson said he was looking forward to celebrating with the fans.
"I just want to have fun with all the fans here who have been so supportive, we love our fans and they are one of the reasons why we've tried to make these films so good."
Jackson and Wood joined other stars and crew from the film to greet the fans at the One Ring website party in Los Angeles after the ceremony.
Dominic Monaghan, who played the hobbit Merry in the Rings trilogy, said: "I think everyone around the world understands how much work he's put in, and to be recognized by his peers, which is, I think, something that Pete really treasures.
"It's a phenomenon and we're just proud to be involved with it."