Oscars 2024: ‘Oppenheimer’ earns Cillian Murphy Best Actor, Nolan Best Director awards

Irish actor Cillian Murphy won his first Oscar for the portrayal of physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who led the US development of the atomic bomb during WW II, in ‘Oppenheimer’ at the 96th Academy Awards. The biopic also earned critically acclaimed British-American filmmaker Christopher Nolan his first Oscars.

‘Oppenheimer’ narrates the tale of Oppenheimer and his peers at Los Alamos who would test the bomb on July 16, 1945, not knowing the ensuing fallout.

Murphy beat Colman Domingo for ‘Rustin’, Bradley Cooper for ‘Maestro’, Paul Giamatti for ‘The Holdovers’, and Jeffrey Wright for ‘American Fiction’.  

This is also the first nomination for the actor, a regular fixture in Nolan’s movies. “We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb. For better or worse, we’re all living in Robert Oppenheimer’s world,” Murphy said in his acceptance speech. “So I’d like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere.” 

With the Oscar win, Murphy capped a successful awards season which also saw him collect a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild award.

As for Nolan, whose earlier ventures garnered huge critical acclaim all over the world, ‘Oppenheimer’ won him his first Oscars. He was earlier been nominated for directing Dunkirk in 2017 for original screenplay in 2010 for Inception and in 2001 for Memento.

Nolan beat out Jonathan Glazer of ‘The Zone of Interest’, Yorgos Lanthimos of ‘Poor Things’, Martin Scorsese of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’, and Justine Triet of ‘Anatomy of a Fall’.

Besides directing, Nolan was also nominated for adapted screenplay and best picture for Oppenheimer. The film earned a leading 13 nominations and has earned nearly $1 billion worldwide. The three-hour biopic was crowned Best Picture at the awards, thereby bagging a total of seven, including Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr.

Emma Stone won Best Actress for her performance as Bella Baxter in Poor Things, beating Lily Gladstone of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon;. Gladstone would have become the first Native American to win an Academy Award. This is her second Best Actress Oscar following her 2019 win for La La Land.

India at Oscars

Renowned production director Nitin Desai, who created sets for blockbuster movies such as the Oscar-nominated ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, was one of the names honoured in the ‘In Memoriam’ segment at the 96th Academy Awards. Desai, 57, was found hanging at his studio in Karjat near Mumbai on August 2, 2023. 

He was also known for his artwork in films such as ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ and ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ as well as the popular TV quiz show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. In his career spanning over 30 years, Desai closely worked with directors like Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani and Ashutosh Gowariker.