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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 11:40 GMT
UK overlooked by Oscar voters
Annie Lennox
Lennox paid tribute to her late mother
The UK largely missed out on Oscar glory during a quiet night for British film talent at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Despite nominations for actors including Jude Law, Sir Ben Kingsley, Samantha Morton and British-born Naomi Watts, Britain went home empty-handed in the biggest categories.

The only major British victory was for Scottish singer Annie Lennox, who was among a trio of winners of the best song category for Into the West from The Return of the King.

Alongside Fran Walsh and Howard Shore, Lennox, 49, seemed overcome as she dedicated the award to her mother, who died last year, and the late composer Michael Kamen.

Wearing a Stella McCartney 1930s-inspired ice blue silk satin dress, she said: "Wow. I am stunned. Thank you so very much to the Academy.

"I would like to thank (Rings director) Peter Jackson so much for inviting me to be part of this extraordinary project. Thank you so much Peter, it's amazing."

Renee Zellweger won best supporting actress for her role in British director Anthony Minghella's US civil war drama Cold Mountain, which had seven nominations.

Sir Ben Kingsley with his wife, Alexandra Christmann
Sir Ben Kingsley said he was honoured to have been shortlisted

The film had received mentions for film editing, cinematography, best score as well as two nominations for best original song.

Jude Law and Sir Ben Kingsley lost out to Mystic River star Sean Penn in the best actor category, while Morton and Watts were beaten by Charlize Theron as best actress for Monster.

Not a vintage year

Ian Freer, associate editor for British film magazine Empire, said it was not a vintage year for UK talent.

"It seemed to be New Zealand's year," he said. "The only major British success has come from Annie Lennox. We usually tend to do well with the technical prizes, but even these seemed to desert us this year. It's been a bit of a poor show."

Dan Jolin, features editor of Total Film, said: "I've just watched the ceremony, and I don't have memories of any major British winners apart from Annie Lennox, and that doesn't really feel like a success for her because the song had been written for the film anyway.

"Every year the UK looks at how we have done, and often we claim films because of connections to us. I suppose this year we can claim Lord of the Rings because Tolkien lived in England."

'Overwhelming'

Jude Law and his mother Maggie
Low expectations: Jude Law (with his mother Maggie)
Law - previously nominated for best supporting actor in The Talented Mr Ripley in 2000 - had tipped Penn to take the Oscar, saying: "I don't expect to win."

He added that he had been "stunned" that Cold Mountain was not up for best film.

Sir Ben, who won the 1983 best actor Oscar for Gandhi, said being nominated again had been "overwhelming".

The ceremony also remembered London-born actor and comedian Bob Hope, who died last year aged 100, with a set of clips from his many films played at the ceremony.

One British winner, Peter King, who collected the Oscar for his make-up work on Lord of the Rings, said he would be celebrating hard.

He said: "It will have to be champagne all the way, I'm afraid.

"Until I'm carried out, hopefully completely paralysed."




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