The Lord of the Rings, as a whole, is an amazing work, and recognition should definitely be given. I think a lifetime achievement award for every last member of the cast and crew is appropriate. In lieu of that, I suspect the royalty checks will be enough.
But to be fair, we really need to judge the film against it's competition not as part of a trilogy, but as a self-contained unit. Why? Because it's not an award for best trilogy.
On that level, does it stand up?
Well, no. Not really. How could it?
Honestly ask yourself:
- Would a new viewer, having skipped Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers, get more out of this than they would the other nominees?
Or would they even see past the special effects, since they have to take your word for it that the conflict resolutions they're watching are based in so many hours of dramatic build-up?
What is the emotional impact, for them?
Likewise, the relationship between theatrical releases and extended DVDs push these further out of bounds.
- By this, I mean the film's not done yet. When series continuity draws from scenes only found in the extended cut, those cease to be "deleted scenes", "extras", or "bonus material" of any kind.
The theatrical cuts are a necessary compromise, clearing seats in a timely manner and providing a second tier of deadlines with which to get everything finalized. They're placeholders.
That... doesn't seem right.
I know I'm a spoil-sport, and I can't help but think back to some friends who refused to participate in New Years celebrations a few years back because the year 2000 didn't really mark the turn of the millenium. They missed out on some pretty good parties, and changed no one's mind with this protest.
Having watched that happen, I can save you the trouble of replying. It goes something like this:
- "Wow. You're right, self. We've all been sharing genuine happiness, but you're somehow better than us because you've found a way to suck the fun right out of it."
- "What, now you have to ruin tabloids too? Why don't you try enjoying life for a change?"