‘King’ takes crown from 3 crix’ groups

Vegas gives six nods to 'Rings' epic

NEW YORK — Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” scored a triple crown Monday, taking picture and director awards in each of three annual film honors lists from the Online Film Critics Society, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society.

The concluding chapter in New Line’s phenomenally successful Tolkien trilogy in December was named best picture of 2003 by the New York Film Critics Circle.

In addition to those laurels, Jackson’s battle epic earned the Las Vegas critics’ supporting actor nod for Sean Astin. Both the Vegas and online groups also lauded the “LOTR” finale for cinematography (Andrew Lesnie), original score (Howard Shore), costume design (Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor), art direction and visual effects.

The online critics also honored the pic for adapted screenplay (Philippa Boyens, Jackson and Fran Walsh) and sound.

Best actor honors went to Sean Penn from the Kansas pundits for “Mystic River” and from their Vegas counterparts for both the Clint Eastwood drama and “21 Grams,” while the online crix chose Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation,” awarding Sofia Coppola original screenplay kudos for the same film.

Actress honorees were Naomi Watts in “21 Grams” (online), Jennifer Connelly in “House of Sand and Fog” (Kansas City) and Charlize Theron in “Monster” (Las Vegas).

Both the Onliners and Kansas City critics named Peter Sarsgaard best supporting actor for “Shattered Glass,” while all three groups went different directions in the supporting actress slot, with OFCS tapping Shohreh Aghdashloo in “House of Sand and Fog,” the K.C. critics opting for Patricia Clarkson in “The Station Agent” and the Vegas org selecting Holly Hunter in “Thirteen.”

Latter pic also won the Vegas group’s Youth in Film award for Evan Rachel Wood, while the same org honored Tom McCarthy’s “The Station Agent” for screenplay.

As with the National Society of Film Critics awards, announced over the weekend, major studio productions took a backseat to specialty division releases with the exception of Warner’s “Mystic River,” DreamWorks’ “House of Sand and Fog” and Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” which garnered all three orgs’ awards for animated feature.

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