'Oppenheimer' leads Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy to their first Oscars

    The Hawk
    March11/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Christopher Nolan secures his first Oscar for 'Oppenheimer', a historical drama spotlighting the physicist behind the atomic bomb in WWII.

    Cillian Murphy

    Los Angeles: British-American filmmaker Christopher Nolan won his first Academy Award on Sunday, clinching best director for his historical drama Oppenheimer about the man behind the development of the atomic bomb during World War Two.

    Nolan had been favored to win the Oscar after earning best director awards at the Golden Globes, BAFTA, Critics Choice and the Directors Guild of America this year.

    Cillian Murphy also earned his first Academy Award for his portrayal in Oppenheimer of the physicist who led the United States’ development of the atomic bomb during World War Two.

    The win caps a successful awards season for the 47-year-old Irish actor, who also picked up a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance. It was his first Oscar nomination.

    Murphy, who lives in Ireland and keeps a low profile in Hollywood, had his biggest role to date playing a tortured, morally ambiguous Oppenheimer. He is also known for leading roles in films including 28 Days Later and crime show Peaky Blinders, and for appearances in other Christopher Nolan projects, including the Dark Knight Batman trilogy and Inception.

    For a story underpinned by complex science, Murphy said in July that he “didn't really waste too much time on the physics,” to prepare for the role, instead honing in on “the humanity and the emotion, and the complexity and the morality of the character.”

    Oppenheimer led this year’s Oscar nominations and has triumphed at other awards ceremonies including the Golden Globes. The movie – which, alongside Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, birthed the summer cinema phenomenon dubbed “Barbenheimer” – helped prop up a 2023 box office where well-established franchises fell flat.

    Nolan also wrote the screenplay for Oppenheimer and produced the film with his wife Emma Thomas. The film received 13 Oscar nominations.

    "Oppenheimer's story is one of the most dramatic that I know of and there are many, many aspects to what makes it so compelling," Nolan told Reuters before the film's premiere last summer.

    Oppenheimer headed the secret Los Alamos Laboratory, established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. He oversaw the first atomic bomb detonation in the New Mexico desert, code-named "Trinity," before the weapons were used in the bombings of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The film has earned more than $957 million at the global box office.

    Nolan is known for his cerebral films and was first nominated for an Oscar for screenwriting in 2002 for Memento, which he also directed. He was nominated for best director in 2019 for World War Two movie Dunkirk.