The fantasy film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the comedy Lost in Translation earned top honors at Hollywood's Golden Globe awards Sunday. The awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association set the tone for the Oscars, which will be handed out next month.

The third and final installment of the fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings earned the Golden Globe for best motion picture drama, as well as awards for its musical score and one of its songs, performed by Annie Lennox.

Director Peter Jackson was named best director. Appearing on stage with cast members and producers, he thanked the late author of the fantasy classic, Oxford scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. "Really, I just want to accept this award and pay tribute to Professor Tolkien for his incredible book," he said.

The comedy Lost in Translation, about two travelers who find friendship in Tokyo, earned three awards. It was named best motion picture in the musical or comedy category. Writer-director Sofia Coppola was honored for her script, and star Bill Murray was named best comedy actor.

Diane Keaton was named best actress in a musical or comedy for Something's Gotta Give, a tale of romance between a middle-aged woman and an aging playboy. Accepting the award from the press association, the 57-year-old performer thanked others involved in the movie.

"My dear members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, I thank you not only for making me so happy at a time in my life when this kind of honor just isn't in the cards," she said. "But also for shining light on the brilliance of Frances McDormand, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet, the rest of the cast and crew, and the content of "Something's Gotta Give," a romantic comedy starring Jack and Diane, two people whose combined age is 125."

Nominee Jack Nicholson, who lost to Bill Murray as best comedy actor, announced the winner of the award for best dramatic actress.

"And the Golden Globe goes to Charlize Theron, Monster."

Charlize Theron plays a prostitute who becomes a serial killer in the chilling drama Monster, which is based on a true story.

Mystic River, a tragic mystery, earned honors for supporting actor Tim Robbins and star Sean Penn. The film's director, Clint Eastwood, accepted the Golden Globe on behalf of the absent Mr. Penn, saying some actors are acknowledged for a single career highlight.

"And then there's those other kind of actors that are oftentimes overlooked because they're so good so often, so consistent in their performances, that we often expect great things from them," he said.

The director said Sean Penn is one of those actors.

Renee Zellweger was named best supporting actress in a drama for her role in the Civil War story

An Afghan film, Osama, was named best foreign language film. It tells the story of a girl who lived under the repressive rule of the Taleban before its ouster.

Actor Michael Douglas received the honorary Cecil B. DeMille award for a body of work that includes the films Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and Wall Street. His father, Kirk Douglas, received the same award in 1968.

The Golden Globes honor television as well as film, and this year's top winner from the small screen was a six-hour adaptation of a play by Tony Kushner called Angels in America. A drama about the AIDS crisis, it earned five awards.

The Golden Globes are presented by some 90 foreign journalists who cover Hollywood. The presentation is known as one of Hollywood's liveliest parties. More importantly, the awards are considered good indicators of winners at the Oscars, which the movie industry takes more seriously. Oscar voters favor dramas over comedies, so The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is emerging as the frontrunner for the leading Hollywood honor.

Oscar nominees will be announced Tuesday morning. The Oscars will be presented at the end of February.