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Christmas present for Oscar voters: 'The Hobbit'

The-hobbit-peter-jacksonAs if Peter Jackson's film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga didn't win enough Academy Awards, the two upcoming prequels to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy will hit theaters at very Oscar-friendly times.

The first installment, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," will be released on Dec. 14, 2012. The second film, titled "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," will open on Dec. 13, 2013. Both parts are set 60 years before the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" not only tied the record set by "Ben-Hur" and "Titanic" for most Oscars (11), but it went undefeated in 2003.

"The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) was nominated for 13 Oscars, including best picture, but won only four: cinematography, visual effects, makeup and music score.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002) was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture, and won two: sound editing and visual effects.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Peter Jackson on the set of "The Hobbit" in New Zealand. Credit: New Line

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