The final installment in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy won four prizes at the ninth annual Critics' Choice Awards, an event whose picks are often echoed at the Academy Awards.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the current champion at the box office worldwide, was named best picture and also snagged awards for best director, ensemble cast and composer.
The blue-collar crime saga "Mystic River" won two prizes -- best actor and supporting actor, for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, respectively -- while its director, Clint Eastwood, took home a previously announced lifetime achievement award.
Other winners included Charlize Theron as best actress for playing real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster," and Renee Zellweger for her supporting turn in the Civil War drama "Cold Mountain."
The event at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday was organized by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., which bills itself as the largest such group in the United States and Canada, with 182 members from the television, radio and online worlds.
Other winners included Howard Shore, composer of "The Return of the King," who previously won an Oscar in 2002 for the first "Rings" installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring."
The writing award went to Irishman Jim Sheridan and his daughters Kirsten and Naomi for their immigrant saga "In America." "Finding Nemo" won for best animated feature, and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" for best family film.
French-Canadian director Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions" was named best foreign-language film. The TV movie prize went to HBO's recent adaptation of "Angels in America." The documentary prize went to "Capturing the Friedmans."
The ceremony was broadcast across North America on the E! Entertainment cable channel.