It's difficult to pick a favorite scene from the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- but at least picking the one that won Best Picture narrows it down. This has always been one of my favorite scenes in The Return of the King, and it does capture the themes of Tolkien in one haunting moment. A new age is beginning and an old one is dying, and there is nothing achieved without great and bitter losses. Even romance and the promise of life comes at a high price. If Arwen chooses a mortal life, she will be separated from her family, her people, and from an endless life of song, beauty, and memory in the Gray Havens. In Tolkien's mythology, the decision has ramificatications beyond this world, and her parting from her father is more permanent than even the film hints at.
Some trivia, courtesy of IMDB:
- The movie marks the second time in history that the third movie in a trilogy was nominated for Best Picture, by the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, after The Godfather: Part III (1990) and the only time that a third movie has won the Best Picture Oscar. It tied with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) to win the most Oscars (11) in a single year. Of the three films to have won 11 Academy awards, it is the only to not have received a nomination for its acting.
- Each of the cast members was given a gift on their last day of shooting. Liv Tyler received Arwen's "dying dress," the one she's wearing in this scene.
- Pregnancy changed Peter Jackson's vision of Lord of the Rings. Originally, he wanted to cast Lucy Lawless as Galadriel and Uma Thurman as Arwen. Unfortunately, both actresses became pregnant after being asked to read, and the roles were filled in by Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler, respectively.