THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003)
What is it? The third of Peter Jackson's Rings fantasy trilogy and its triumphant conclusion, as Aragorn and co. defend the embattled city of Minas Tirith while the hobbits succeed in destroying the One Ring, bringing down the bad guy and saving the world. Score one for the short guys then.
Why did it win? Because the three films were impressive both in scope and achievement, the Academy wanted to award them - but not three years in succession. So it felt like the Oscar cherry on top of the audience adulation and massive box office was saved up for this final year, rather stiffing a strong field that included indie breakout Lost in Translation, naval epic Master and Commander, and Eastwood drama Mystic River. Also Seabiscuit.
Did it deserve to win? Hmm. It is undeniable that the trilogy as a whole deserved recognition for the extent of its artistic achievement and game-changing level of success, but the final installment is few people's favourite, and the surfeit of endings mean it's the most often lampooned. So heaping all the kudos on just the third part was perhaps not the right approach.
Worth a look? Of course, if you have several hours and a high tolerance for finales.