Oscars 2024: Atomic bomb movie 'Oppenheimer' crowned best picture

By Reuters   March 10, 2024 | 10:36 pm PT
Oscars 2024: Atomic bomb movie 'Oppenheimer' crowned best picture
The producers and cast of Oppenheimer seen on the Oscar stage for winning Best Picture. Photo by Reuters
"Oppenheimer," the blockbuster biopic about the race to build the first atomic bomb, claimed seven Academy Awards including the prestigious best picture trophy on Sunday as Hollywood celebrated a triumphant year in film.

Irish actor Cillian Murphy won best actor for playing theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the U.S. effort in the 1940s to create a weapon that ended World War Two. "Oppenheimer" director Christopher Nolan took home the directing Oscar.

"We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb, and for better or worse we are living in Oppenheimer's world," Murphy said as he held his trophy on stage. "So I would really like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere."

A three-hour historical drama about science and politics, "Oppenheimer" became an unlikely box office hit and grossed $953.8 million, in addition to widespread critical praise.

It was the first of Nolan's films to win best picture. The director has previously won acclaim for "The Dark Knight" Batman trilogy, "Inception," "Memento" and other movies.

As he accepted his gold statuette, Nolan noted that the movie business was a century old and still evolving.
"To know you think I'm a meaningful part of this means the world to me," he said.

Emma Stone wins best actress

Emma Stone was named best actress for playing a woman revived from the dead in the dark and wacky comedy "Poor Things." It was the second Academy Award for Stone, who landed the best actress honor for 2016 musical "La La Land."

"This is really overwhelming," she said on stage.

The best actress race had been considered one of the tightest competitions with Lily Gladstone nominated for "Killers of the Flower Moon." Had she prevailed, Gladstone would have been the first Native American to win an acting Oscar.

In supporting actor categories, Robert Downey Jr. of "Oppenheimer" and "The Holdovers" star Da'Vine Joy Randolph claimed their firstAcademy Awards.

Downey, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 before his career was derailed by drug use, won his honor on Sunday for playing Oppenheimer's professional nemesis, Lewis Strauss.

"I'd like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order," Downey joked before he saluted his wife Susan, who he said found him as a "snarly rescue pet" and "loved him back to life."

Randolph received the best supporting actress trophy for playing a grieving mother and cafeteria worker in the comedy set in a New England boarding school.

"For so long, I always wanted to be different, and now I realize I just need to be myself," she said. "I thank you for seeing me."

Winners were chosen by the roughly 10,500 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

After 2023 was marred by labor strikes by actors and writers, the Oscars gave Hollywood a chance to celebrate two blockbusters, "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie," which brought in a combined $2.4 billion at theaters and made movies the center of pop culture last summer.

"Barbie" ended the night with one Oscar.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell landed best original song for the ballad "What Was I Made For?" The pair had performed the song on stage earlier with Eilish singing at a microphone next to O'Connell, her brother and co-writer, on piano.

Ryan Gosling donned a hot pink suit, gloves and a cowboy hat to belt out rock ballad "I'm Just Ken," surrounded by male dancers dressed in black.

Amid the upbeat moments, international conflicts were on the minds of attendees, winners and protesters outside the theater.

Israel-Gaza conflict plays a role

When Holocaust drama "The Zone of Interest" was named best international feature, director Jonathan Glazer addressed the Israel-Gaza conflict in his acceptance speech.

A handful of celebrities, including Eilish, Mahershala Ali and Mark Ruffalo, wore red pins calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

"The Oscars are happening down the road while people are being murdered, killed, bombed," said 38-year-old business owner Zinab Nassrou.

On the red carpet, stars strutted in strong silhouettes, sparkles and a splash of Barbie-inspired pink.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, hosting the show for the fourth time, opened the ceremony by complimenting, and taking jabs at, many of the nominees and their films.

The comedian praised "Barbie," the pink-drenched doll adventure, for remaking a "plastic doll nobody even liked anymore" into a feminist icon.

Before the film, there was "a better chance of getting my wife to buy our daughter a pack of Marlboro Reds" than a Barbie, Kimmel said on the broadcast, which was shown live on the U.S. ABC network.

Kimmel said many of this year's movies were too long, particularly Martin Scorsese's 3-1/2-hour epic "Killer of the Flower Moon" about the murders of members of the Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma.

"In the time it takes you to watch it, you could drive to Oklahoma and solve the murders," Kimmel joked.

Late in the show, Kimmel read aloud from a scathing online review of his performance as host, disclosing at the end that it was written by former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kimmel jokingly asked the audience to guess which former president had written the post and then quipped:

"Thank you, President Trump. Isn't it past your jail time?"

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