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'Rings' characters discuss Oscar snub"

Jan. 27, 2004 MINAS TIRITH (AP) The city of Minas Tirith has been abuzz today over the news that 'The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King,' while receiving 11 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, did not receive any nominations for acting.

"Eleven nominations?" said Pippin Took, of the Shire. "Well, that's good news."

His friend Meriadoc Brandybuck responded by swatting him over the head with the newspaper and protesting, "But the cast is a part of this movie! Aren't they?"

Their kinsman Frodo Baggins shared Brandybuck's dismay. Upon reading the list of nominations, Baggins commented with an ironic chuckle, "They've left out one of the chief characters: the cast. I want to hear more about them." Waxing solemn and soulful, he added, "The movie wouldn't have got far without the cast."

"You almost don't want to watch the awards ceremony," contributed Baggins' gardener and loyal valet, Samwise Gamgee, "because how can it be happy? How can the awards go right when so much bad has been nominated? Folks in that Academy had lots of chances of voting for these actors, only they didn't."

Lord Elrond, of Rivendell, seemed to agree. "There is no strength in the Academy," he said. "There is nothing for us here but disappointment." His daughter, the Lady Arwen, added sadly, "Some things are certain. Whatever grace is given to me will not, I fear, be enough to bear this choice."

Legolas Greenleaf, of the Mirkwood realm, commented somewhat cryptically on the Academy's choices, "A red sun rises. Lame decisions have been made this night." When asked to clarify his opinion, he told reporters that he had not the heart, for the grief was still too near, and retired for a walk in the forest.

His companion, Gimli son of Gloin, had sharper remarks to make upon the chosen nominees. "Mystic River? What madness drew them there? You'll find more cheer in a graveyard!"

But wizard Gandalf the White urged a more optimistic approach. "Do not be too eager to deal out Oscars in judgement," he advised. "That is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the Oscars we are given."

Meanwhile, his colleague Saruman the formerly-White was in favor of retaliation against the Academy: "Too long have those peasants stood against us," Saruman said, referring to the Academy's failure to give any fantasy film the Best Picture Oscar yet. "Leave none alive! To war! There will be no dawn for film critics!"

Treebeard, of the Ents, told reporters after much deliberation and exchanging of long names, that he was in agreement with this proposed course of action. "There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery," he declared. "My business is with Beverly Hills tonight. With heads made of cotton candy and rock."

"I do not doubt their hearts," Éomer of Rohan conceded. "Only the size of their brains." He then returned to the task of loading up forty of his men and horses with toilet paper and Maps to the Stars' Homes, for a "secret midnight mission" that he regretted he could not give details about.

At least one individual, calling himself Sméagol, claimed to be making plans to steal the Oscar statuettes. "Oscar is sooo pretty, sooo golden," said Sméagol. "We will take the statuesss once the Hollywood snobses are dead! Ye-esss, precious!" He then quickly added, groveling at the feet of reporters, "No! No! We were only joking! Sméagol wouldn't hurt a fly! Nice movie industry." He crawled away before he could be questioned further.

Still others appeared not to care about the snub. Lady Éowyn of Rohan said with a shrug, "The women of this country learned long ago that those without Oscar nominations may still get dates to awards ceremonies. I fear neither critics nor fans." Lord Boromir, a native of Minas Tirith, dismissed the concerns, claiming, "Gondor has no Oscars. Gondor needs no Oscars."

A few seemed to believe that the Best Film nomination was reward enough. Pointing out that fantasy films rarely garnered even nominations, Théoden of Rohan observed, "When we go to join our predecessors, in their company we need not feel ashamed." And Faramir of Gondor said that he personally would be content if the film and director won. "If my loyalty is not with them, where does it lie?" he asked.

But overall the mood was one of mild disgust. As Lord Aragorn put it to reporters, "The day may come when the Academy is able to find their ass with a flashlight. But this is not that day."

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