Peter Jackson, Patrick Stewart

AP Photo

Call it the Return of the Queen.

In a host of end-of-year honors, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart were both feted with knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

Jackson, the mastermind behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its final entry, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won the most Oscars ever, called the honor given out by the monarch and New Zealand's head of state an "incredible moment."

''I didn't think anything would surpass the 2004 Academy Awards, but I was wrong," the humbled helmer said in a written statement.

Must have the precious!

Jackson just finished up the script to a two-part prequel of The Hobbit that Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro is directing and he's producing, which is expected to start shooting early next year. His latest flick, The Lovely Bones, was just released in the U.S. to mixed reviews.

After starting out directing low-budget horror films and working his way up Hollywood's ranks, Jackson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 for making the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings.

His achievement in adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's famed fantasy novels helped make the independent British Commonwealth a prime destination for film production and special effects thanks to his Weta Workshop and Weta Digital facilities in New Zealand's capitol of Wellington.

Those units are currently hard at work on Jackson's latest big-screen foray, a trilogy of films based on Tintin, the popular Belgian boy detective comic strip, which he's doing with Steven Spielberg.

Meanwhile the stately 69-year-old Stewart topped the list of Britons named honorary knights, ensuring forever more he will be known as "Sir Patrick."

After forging a successful career in British theater as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as on such acclaimed TV series as I Claudius, the thesp went to Hollywood and gained a whole new (primarily geek) following portraying Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its accompanying movies.

Aside from his famous bald pate, Stewart is also known for taking on the role of Charles Xavier in the blockbuster X-Men movies as well as starring in his one-man stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol as well as playing Scrooge in a TV version of the classic story.


Patrick and Peter aren't the only ones earning kudos from the Queen.  See who last year's honorary knight was here. You might be surprised.

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