Peiyu writes: The February 2004 issue of Singapore’s FiRST magazine has the results of the FiRST Awards 2003.

There is also a report on the LOTR Motion Picture Trilogy Exhibition to be held in Singapore, along with an Animation Workshop.


One ring can really rule everything, The big winner of the 2003 FiRST Awards is The Return of the King, the cinematic conclusion to the magnificent The Lord of the Rings saga. Championed by the remarkable director Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings is no doubt the epic of epics and the trilogy of trilogies, with victories in five of the six nominated categories [Favourite Movie, Favourite Director, Favourite Action Hero, Favourite Hunk, Favourite Screen Couple]. We all know that good things must ccome to an end. But we never expect that the end of this journey could be this good.


Return of the King is our poll’s Favourite Movie of 2003, beating blockbuster heavy weights like Kill Bill Vol. 1, The Matrix Revolutions and Internal Affairs with 83% of the votes.

Even with the extra long ending, the complex subplots and the smaller-than-life hobbit heroes, people still love ROTK. Every poll with a The Lord of the Rings nomination is extremely slanted. Our result tabulators complain why we even bother to have a poll for each The Lord of the Rings nomination. Other than the Award for Favourite Villian, the folks of the fellowship just walk over and took everything.


It comes to no surprise that Peter Jackson is the Favourite Director in our polls. He dominates the poll with 60% of the votes, outshining even Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Frankly, Jackson deserves all the glory he is getting these days. The hobbit-looking prodigy is already nominated for the best director at the next Academy Awards and it is easy to understand why. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of cinema’s most ambitious undertakings. New Line Cinema is practically gambling their very existence in the movie industry with this massive investment. Fortunately, Jackson delivered both financially and artistically, satisfying fans of both the book and the box office for three years in a row.

It takes a person with a masterful vision to weave together such a complex plot with so many characters, each of them an enigma with their own separate following.


We may have skipped a heart beat when The Bride executed her moves so stylishly and so splendidly in Tarantino’s hyper violent, ultra-gory, blood fest Vol. 1 of Kill Bill. We may have witnessed visual poetry in that rain combat sequence when Neo and Agent Smith face-off in The Matrix Revolutions. We may have even spilt our pop corns watching the bare knuckle ferocity of the Thai hero in Ong Bak.

But the truth remains: that we, the people of earth and Middle-Earth alike, prefer action at its most visceral. Nothing beats an old fashion horseback warrior engaging in one old school battle after another.

Meet the poll’s most Favourite Action Hero and one of cinematic history’s handsomest kings. No, he is neither elf nor dwarf, neither agent nor messiah. His name is Aragorn, and he is just a man. A very charismatic one who wields the Anduril, the infamous sword that is both big and brutal. And don’t we all love men who can handle a massive weapon so single handedly and heroically. Remember how he charged down the plains with unprecedented gusto so elegantly before his cavalry in a classic case of heroic suicide. “… for all you hold dear!” he shouted. We just loved that scene.

Played by the once fairly unknown Viggo Mortensen, Aragorn steals the limelight from Elijah Wood’s Frodo in this concluding saga as the other main protagonist – the eponymous king that will return. Underneath those sly eyes reads an everyman quality about Aragorn. This is the very eminence that makes the warrior a ruler worthy of everyone’s respect.

All hail the Favourite Action Hero – King Aragorn.


The tear-jerking romance between Neo and Trinity is moving but it is unmatched next to the chemical (not to mention, hilarious) relationship shared between an elf and a dwarf. Yes, Legolas and Gimli may look like the most inappropriate combination but it says in our polls that they are the Favourite Screen Couple.

Okay, we know what you are thinking. Just because one’s a lithe elf and the other a short-bearded dwarf doesn’t mean that both males are incapable of being strictly platonic bosom buddies. Just watch the way the bond between Legolas and Gimli deepends, be it enmity, friendship or slash.

Fans of the novel will know that before The Fellowship of the Ring, dwarves and elves don’t get along. They just cannot stand the sight of each other. How then did these two Middle-Earth creatures become so tight a pair? Everything boils down to the ring and the mission to return it. It is the beauty of the shared mission and communal experience that brought them together. Both guys, although once enemies-in-kind, develop a mutual respect for each other. They understand from the battles that they have braved together, that both have a role to play to fulfil the ultimate mission. Isn’t that sweet?

Here’s a quote from the Favourite Screen Couple. Check out the hilarious exchange:

(During the Battle of Helm’s Deep, Gimli has killed an Uruk-Hai warrior.)
Gimli: Legolas! Two already!
Legolas: I’m on 17!
Gimli: What? I’ll have no pointy ear outscoring me!
Legolas: (shoots two more arrows) 19!


This is the toughest fight in our polls. Not since the last US presidential election have we observed such an unprecedented battle for votes. Agent Smith and Gollum run side by side in terms of popularity. Both are crooks fighting despicably for the Favourite Villain Award. Strange things have happened. One of our tabulators have been unplugged. Another has her wedding finger bitten off. The Eds are unflinching, they have called for their second re-count.

(And the final results are out. This is an account of what happened in the virtual fantasy-reality of the FiRST Award Ceremony.)
Presenter: Okay here goes. May the favourite villain win.
(The presenter proceeds to open the envelope.)
Presenter: The winner is Gol…
(Just then Gollum creeps from behind the presenter and hisses.)
Gollum: Back off! The pwehciouss is mine!!!
(Suddenly the presenter’s eyes roll up. He starts to convulse and morph. There is electricity in the air. Sparks flew. Before anyone can say anything, a cinematic spectacle is witnessed. Standing in place of the presenter is Agent Smith.)
Agent Smith: Mr. Gollum, we meet at last. I have heard all about you.
Gollum: Smeagol do not play computer games. Smeagol do not know you. Gollum just wants the Award for Favourite Villain.
Agent Smith: Yes. Yes. Don’t we all have wants. But I have seen it. I have seen your death. I have eradicated you. Wiped all your votes off the database… with some satisfaction, I might add.
Gollum: But Smeagol heard from the editors that we have won. The pwehciouss is ours.
Agent Smith: Don’t you see. They set us up because they want us to do battle.
Gollum: But… but… these Masters are humans, not fat hobbits, they would never do anything to hurt poor Smeagol.
Agent Smith: Oh yes they will. They wants us to eradicate each other the way you Middle-Earthlings did for one ring. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify a battle that is without meaning or purpose. But why bother when the beginning points to the end.
Gollum: Smeagol is confused.
Agent Smith: I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it. I can’t stand it any longer. Give me the award and I’ll be off.
Gollum: Smeagol cannot give you the pwehciouss. Gollum will not let me. Do not force Smeagol. Smeagol has killed before and he will do it again. Back off.
(Agent Smith struts over and lifts the award off the table.)
Agent Smith: Why do you persist? You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting . All this is artificial. I will cure you of your pathetic existence. I will rid you of your feeble precious.
Gollum: No!
(Gollum lashes out at Agent Smith, wrapping his limps around the agent like a spider.)
Agent Smith: (coughs) Your breath stinks!
Gollum: I wantssss this pwehciouss!
(Indeed, Gollum’s breath is too repulsive for the Agent. He chokes.)
Agent Smith: Arrggghhhhh!
(Gollum grabs the Award with his teeth and leaps off scrambling his way into the woods.)
Agent Smith: (dazed and disoriented) Wait a minute… I have not finished… I am supposed to have the last say.
Gollum: Not listening.
Agent Smith: Hey! … This isn’t fair.


The King may have returned and the series may have ended but life is not over for the fair-skinned blondie who played the enigmatic Legolas in the LOTR Trilogy. In fact, life for the alluring Orlando Bloom has only just begun. This doll-looking hunk is fast becoming the most sought after supporting actor in Hollywood. He has already played the gallant Will Turner opposite Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean. Bloom will next play the legendary lover boy Paris in Troy.

It is no surprise that Orlando Bloom is the Favourite Hunk in our 2003 Poll. Whether he’s sporting blonde braids or curly locks, Bloom is the hunk dujour. Even the dangerously beautiful Takeshi Kaneshiro and over-exposed bad boy Colin Farrell have to step aside to honour his blooming appeal.

Never before LOTR, would we expect (except to the fans of the book) that ‘Elves’ to be so sexy and romantic. Maybe androgyny is back in fashion. Move aside Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman wannabes!