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Oppenheimer’s Oscars success with wins for Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy

Oppenheimer won seven Oscars, including best director for Christopher Nolan, ending his 22-year wait for an Academy Award (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Oppenheimer won seven Oscars, including best director for Christopher Nolan, ending his 22-year wait for an Academy Award (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic Oppenheimer has swept the Oscars, winning seven prizes, including best director for Nolan, ending his 22-year wait for an Academy Award.

The film about J Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist described as the father of the atomic bomb, was also named best picture, while its star, Cillian Murphy, won best actor, the first Irish winner of this award.

Robert Downey Jr was named best supporting actor for his turn as Lewis Strauss, head of the Atomic Energy Commission, securing him his first Oscar win.

The film was also celebrated for its editing, score and cinematography.

The best picture prize, the final trophy of the night, was handed out by veteran actor Al Pacino, who announced the winner in an unconventional manner without the customary fanfare.

The 83-year-old looked at the card and said: “I see Oppenheimer.”

Collecting his directing trophy, Nolan thanked his wife and producer of the film, Emma Thomas, as well as Murphy.

(PA Graphics)

Nolan said: “Thank you for those who have been there for me and believed in me my whole career.”

He added: “To the Academy, just to say movies are just a little bit over 100 years old… I mean imagine being there 100 years into painting or theatre.

“We don’t know where this incredible journey is going from here. But to know that you think that I’m a meaningful part of it means the world to me. Thank you very much.”

Murphy, 47, kissed his wife, artist Yvonne McGuinness, before heading to the stage, where he said making the film had “been the wildest, most creatively satisfying journey”.

96th Academy Awards – Show
Cillian Murphy is congratulated by his wife, Yvonne McGuinness, after being named best actor (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“I am a very proud Irishman standing here tonight,” he added.

Acknowledging “we are all living in Oppenheimer’s world now”, he added: “I would like to dedicate this to the peacemakers of the world.”

At the end of his speech, he spoke in Irish, saying “go raibh maith agat” which means “thank you very much”.

Emma Stone was named best actress for the surreal comedy Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, about a woman who is given the brain of a baby.

96th Academy Awards – Press Room
(L to R) Robert Downey Jr, best supporting actor, Oppenheimer; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, best supporting actress, The Holdovers; Emma Stone, best actress, Poor Things; and Cillian Murphy, best actor, Oppenheimer (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The US star, who already has an Oscar for her performance in 2016’s La La Land, revealed she was battling a wardrobe malfunction as she walked up on stage to collect her prize, and blamed Ryan Gosling’s rousing performance of the Barbie song I’m Just Ken.

She said: “My dress is broken, I think it happened during I’m Just Ken.”

She appeared visibly overwhelmed and wept as she said: “I don’t know what I’m saying.”

She added: “The other night I was panicking – as you can see it happens a lot – that something like this could happen.”

After thanking her family, she saved her final thanks for “my daughter, who is going to be three in three days and who turned our whole lives technicolour”.

She added: “I love you bigger than the whole sky, my girl.”

96th Academy Awards – Show
Emma Stone struggles with her dress (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Before leaving the stage, she said: “Don’t look at the back of my dress.”

Da’Vine Joy Randolph was named best supporting actress for her role as a grieving cook in The Holdovers, about a grumpy teacher who stays at school over the holidays.

The highly publicised battle between Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s film about the Mattel doll, and Oppenheimer, failed to materialise because Gerwig’s film only won one award – the best original song prize for What Was I Made For? by Billie Eilish and her brother, Finneas O’Connell.

The gong is Eilish’s second Oscar win, after she previously won the same category at the 2022 Oscars, for the James Bond theme tune No Time To Die.

Killers Of The Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s western about the murders of wealthy members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s, was completely shut out, having received 10 nominations.

(PA Graphics)

The Zone Of Interest won the best international feature Oscar, becoming the first UK production to win the Oscar in that category.

The film, set in and around the Auschwitz Nazi death camp during the Second World War, features dialogue that is mostly in German and Polish, which made it eligible for the award.

British director Jonathan Glazer accepted the award and said: “All of our choices were made to confront us in the present. Not to say ‘Look what they did then, but look what we do now’.”

He added: “Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst – it’s shaped all of our past and present.

96th Academy Awards – Press Room
Director Jonathan Glazer accepted the best international feature Oscar for The Zone Of Interest (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.

“Whether it’s the victims of October 7 in Israel or of the ongoing attack on Gaza, all are victims of this dehumanisation.”

The Academy Award for original screenplay was presented to French film-makers Justine Triet and Arthur Harari for courtroom drama Anatomy Of A Fall.

Cord Jefferson won the best adapted screenplay Oscar for American Fiction, about a black author who writes the kind of book he despises.

APTOPIX 96th Academy Awards – Show
Ryan Gosling performs I’m Just Ken from “Barbie during the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, saw a string of past winners take to the stage to honour this year’s nominees.

There was also excitement when Gosling reprised his role of Ken from Barbie for a rendition of the nominated original song, I’m Just Ken, from the film.

He was joined by co-stars including Ncuti Gatwa, Simu Liu and Kingsley Ben-Adir for the high energy number, for which he donned a pink glittery suit and gloves, and was also joined by Guns N’ Roses star Slash for a guitar solo.