Joining Rings on Tuesday on the list of best picture nominees were the seafaring adventure Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World, crime thriller Mystic River, horse-racing tale Seabiscuit, and Lost in Translation, about two disenchanted Americans in Tokyo.
The best film nominations were largely expected, but the acting categories held several unlikely nominees and were as notable for who was included as who was not.
Master and Commander star Russell Crowe was left out of the group for best actor and Nicole Kidman failed to land in the best actress group in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain.
In fact, neither Rings or Master and Commander, which was the second most nominated film with 10, scored any acting
"It was just a great, rich field this year," said Academy President Frank Pierson. "I think that is why some of the significant names that were talked about were not on the list. We are seeing some fresh faces, and that is great."
Best actor nominations went to Ben Kingsley for House of
Sand and Fog, Jude Law in Cold Mountain, Bill Murray for
Lost in Translation, Sean Penn in Mystic River, and Johnny
Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Samantha Morton was nominated for In America, about an Irish family's struggle to make a home in New York. Even more unlikely was Keisha Castle-Hughes in New Zealand's Whale
Nicole Kidman failed to land in
the best actress group
Rider, who at 13 years-old became the youngest best actress nominee to date. At the age of 10, Tatum O'Neal won her best supporting actress Oscar for Paper Moon.
Other best actress nominees were Diane Keaton for comedy Something's Gotta Give, Golden Globe winner Charlize Theron playing a serial killer in Monster, and Naomi Watts, portraying a woman dealing with her husband's death in 21 Grams.
The supporting actor category also put in a few surprises with Djimon Hounsou landing in the group for In America. He was joined Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai, as well as expected nominees, Alec Baldwin in The Cooler, Benicio Del Toro for 21 Grams, and Golden Globe winner Tim Robbins in Mystic River.
Nominations for supporting actress went to Renee Zellweger for Cold Mountain, Holly Hunter in Thirteen, Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River, Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April and Shohreh Aghdashloo in House of Sand and Fog.
Directing nominations went to Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Clint Eastwood for Mystic River, Peter Weir for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation and Fernando Meirelles for City of God.
Keisha Castle-Hughes is the
youngest best actress nominee
Coppola, daughter of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, was also nominated for best original screenplay, and the film had four nominations, overall.
Although it failed to land in the best film group, Cold Mountain, tied with Seabiscuit as the third most nominated movie with seven, followed by Mystic River with six and Pirates of the Caribbean with five.
The Oscars, which are award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are the US film industry's top honors and will be given out at a gala ceremony in Los Angeles on 29 February.