Skip to main content

The Lord of the Rings remains one of the most beloved fantasy film series of all time, but did the movies ever receive recognition at the Oscars? Although genre releases have traditionally been snubbed during the Academy Awards, Peter Jackson’s trilogy took home some hard-won gold — enough to satisfy even Smaug.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ won 17 Oscars in total

'The Lord of the Rings' stars Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Elijah Wood, and Sean Astin at the 2004 Oscars. They're standing next to one another and all wearing black suits.
Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Elijah Wood, and Sean Astin | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Lord of the Rings received 17 Oscars by the time the trilogy came to a close, but the majority of its big wins came from The Return of the King. Although The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers took home prizes for Sound Editing, Special Effects, and Cinematography, they didn’t snag any wins in the major awards categories.

That changed with The Return of the King, which won the series a whopping total of 11 Academy Awards. To this day, The Return of the King is among the films that have received the most Oscars. Even more impressively, it took home Best Picture — the first fantasy movie to ever accomplish such a feat.

What other Oscars did The Lord of the Rings movies win? Read on for a full breakdown of each installment’s accolades.

Which Oscars did ‘The Lord of the Rings’ win?

The 17 Oscars The Lord of the Rings movies took home recognized a wide range of talent, mostly honoring those who worked behind the scenes.

The Fellowship of the Ring boasted the following achievements at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002:

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Visual Effects

The Two Towers received the fewest Oscars of the trilogy, taking home just two honors at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003:

  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Visual Effects

Finally, The Return of the King swept every category it was nominated in at the 76th Academy Awards. Its list of honors includes everything from Best Picture to

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director – Peter Jackson
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Original Song
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects

That’s a hefty list of accomplishments, though there is one surprise: despite receiving critical acclaim through multiple awards seasons, The Lord of the Rings never won any Oscars for its performances.

The franchise’s actors never took home Academy Awards


Did the ‘Harry Potter’ Movies Win Any Oscars?

Surprisingly, The Lord of the Rings actors never received Academy Awards for their performances in the films. In fact, many of them weren’t even nominated for their roles.

Sir Ian McKellen was the only contender, receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Fellowship of the Ring. However, even Gandalf the Grey’s sacrifice at the end of the film wasn’t enough to take home a win.

Fortunately, the Lord of the Rings cast made up for it at other awards ceremonies. According to IMDb, McKellen won Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2002 SAG Awards. And two years later, the entirety of the cast won the SAG for Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture. That’s just one of several ensemble achievements they took home over the years.

Elijah Wood also received a handful of honors for playing Frodo, including an MTV Award. And Viggo Mortensen and Andy Serkis are among the other major cast members to receive solo accolades at various ceremonies.

Even without any acting Oscars, The Lord of the Rings left its mark on the industry. And the movies made Academy Awards history in other ways, paving the way for genre films to receive greater recognition.