American epic SEABISCUIT has surprisingly beaten OSCAR favourite THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING to claim the top prize at this year's (04) AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS awards.

The TOBEY MAGUIRE-starring drama beat competition from Peter Jackson's fantasy epic and sea adventure Master And Commander: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD to scoop the Best Camera Work prize for cinematographer JOHN SCHWARTZMAN.

Schwartzman was visibly stunned by the honour at Sunday's (8FEB04) ceremony and told the audience the movie was "the ride of a lifetime".

Seabiscuit was a surprise inclusion on the ACADEMY AWARDS shortlist for this year's (04) Best Film, pushing out hot favourite Cold Mountain.

It will compete with Master and Commander, Lost In Translation, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Mystic River on 29 February (04) at Los Angeles' KODAK THEATER.

09/02/2004 13:55