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It's been quite a week for Catholic artists at the movies.

The box-office crown was won by a passionate Catholic for his film about Jesus saving the world from sin, while eleven Oscars were handed out to the makers of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (thanks to the not-so-Catholic director Peter Jackson.)

First, let's take a look at the Oscars.

Tolkien fans would like to thank the Academy …

"It's a clean sweep!" Steven Spielberg exclaimed when he opened the Oscar envelope and saw the name of this year's Best Picture winner—The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Throughout its history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been notorious for choosing realism over fantasy. No fantasy film has ever won Best Picture.

That all changed when the third Rings film to be nominated for the award finally earned the appreciation of Oscar voters. To make the victory even sweeter, the Best Picture award was the eleventh Oscar given to the film that night, tying the record set by Ben-Hur and Titanic, and bringing the trilogy's Oscar total to a whopping seventeen—the most Oscars ever collected by a franchise.

With a sizeable crowd of the actors, crew, and the two screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens smiling and teary-eyed behind him, Peter Jackson accepted the award with his characteristic humility, gratitude, and sincerity. He joked about the broadcast "delay" that was in effect (in case of "wardrobe malfunctions" or inappropriate language) saying, "Fantasy is one F-word that the five-second delay won't do anything to." He thanked the Academy for "seeing beyond the trolls, wizards and hobbits."

For Lord of the Rings fans, there may have been a twinge of sadness as the ...

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March 2004

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