As predicted, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won Best Picture at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, the crowning achievement on an evening that saw the film bring home a record-tying 11 awards overall—including Best Director for Peter Jackson, the genius behind the epic LOTR film trilogy.

Peter Jackson and the Best Picture award

Peter Jackson and the Best Picture award

While King was lauded in all sorts of categories from visual effects to costume design to musical score, the night's ultimate winner was the literary mastermind behind it all, Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien.

Jackson noted in an Associated Press story that Tolkien's themes of "forgiveness, courage, faith, friendship" are "themes that go straight to the heart."

Peter Jackson with his cast and crew

Peter Jackson with his cast and crew

In accepting the Best Picture award, co-producer Barrie Osborne thanked Tolkien. Earlier in the evening, when ROTK won for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) co-writer Philippa Boyens said, "We have so many people that we need to thank, but the first person we absolutely must thank is Professor J. R. R. Tolkien. Without him we wouldn't be standing here."

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Jackson said. "But ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a filmmaker, so what better film to work on than The Lord of the Rings? It was a privilege every day. It nearly killed me, but right now it feels absolutely fine."

ROTK won every award for which it was nominated. Its 11 Oscars tied a record set by Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997). Besides Best Picture and Best Director, it won for Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup, Music (Score), Music (Song), Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

Other winners
Renee Zellweger, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Charlize Theron with their acting awards

Renee Zellweger, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Charlize Theron with their acting awards

Return of the King obviously wasn't the only winner on Sunday. Charlize Theron won for best actress as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, while Sean Penn took best actor for his role in Mystic River. Supporting actor award went to Tim Robbins in Mystic River and Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain.

Sofia Coppola won for original screenplay for Lost in Translation, making her family a second three-generation winner. Her father, Francis Ford Coppola, is a five-time winner, and her grandfather, Carmine Coppola, won for musical score on The Godfather: Part II.

For a complete list of Oscar winners, click here.

Read other Oscar coverage from USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Boston Globe.

Photos by WireImage