Popular The Return of the King failed to clinch a single gong at an awards ceremony voted for by film critics tonight.
The seafaring epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World scooped three titles, including Best Film, at the 24th Awards of the London Film Critics’ Circle.
Paul Bettany, who stars in the movie alongside Russell Crowe, scooped Best British Actor over Oscar-nominated Jude Law, while the film also bagged the award for Best Screenwriter, at the ceremony in central London.
The 100 critics who make up the Circle snubbed The Return of the King, the final instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and an Oscar favourite, which had been nominated for Best Film and Best Director in tonight’s event.
Far From Heaven star Julianne Moore clinched the Best Actress title over the likes of rising star Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman.
Charlotte Rampling, Helen Mirren, and Julie Walters lost out in the Best British Actress award to The Mother’s Anne Reid, 68, at the ceremony, held in aid of the NSPCC charity.
Newly-glamorous Emma Thompson, who has won a string of awards for Best Actress, had to make do with Best British Actress in a Supporting Role for romantic comedy Love Actually.
Bill Nighy won Best British Actor in a Supporting Role for the Richard Curtis film.
London Film Critics’ Circle Chairman William Russell praised Master and Commander, saying it deserved to sweep the board.
Mystic River gave the Best Director accolade to Clint Eastwood and Best Actor to Sean Penn.
David Mackenzie won Best British Newcomer for his role in the low budget film Young Adam, over Curtis for his first directing role in Love Actually.
Peter Mullan won Best British Director for The Magdalene Sisters over the likes of Anthony Minghella for Cold Mountain and Stephen Daldry for The Hours.
Mullan was also presented with the Attenborough Award for best British film.
Writer David Hare won Best British Screenwriter for The Hours.
Actor Tom Courtenay was honoured with the Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema.
The Critics’ Circle Special Award went to director Ronald Neame, whose work includes Brief Encounter, The Poseidon Adventure and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
The German film Goodbye Lenin won Best Foreign Language Film.
Members of the London Film Critics’ Circle write for newspapers and magazines published across the UK.