Cillian Murphy Dedicates ‘Oppenheimer’ Best Actor Oscar To “Peacemakers Everywhere”

Cillian Murphy Dedicates ‘Oppenheimer’ Best Actor Oscar To “Peacemakers Everywhere”

Cillian Murphy won the Best Actor Oscar this evening for his riveting turn in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. After five collaborations with Nolan, this was Murphy’s first time in a lead role in one of the director’s films — nabbing him his first-ever Oscar nomination, and the first win in the Best Actor category for an Irish-born actor. In a shout-out to his homeland from the Dolby stage, Murphy said, “I’m a very proud Irishman standing here tonight.”

He also thanked Nolan and producer Emma Thomas: “It’s been the wildest, most exhilarating, most creatively satisfying journey you’ve taken me on for the last 20 years. I owe you more than I can say.”

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To all the cast and crew, he added, “You guys carried me through.”

In closing, Murphy said, “We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb, and for better or for worse, we’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world, so I’d really like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere.”

Watch his acceptance speech above and backstage comments below.

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Murphy has received praise and won prizes all throughout the season for portraying J. Robert Oppenheimer, the complicated and brilliant physicist tasked with leading the Manhattan Project, the secret effort to create the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer struggled with psychological issues in his youth and grew to become a peerless intellectual, though not an entirely likable presence. After the war, he was a vocal opponent of nuclear armament and was stripped of his security clearance during a 1954 hearing that focused on his suspected communist ties. (That clearance revocation was reversed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy in late 2022, citing “bias and unfairness” in the 68-year-old process.)

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The film’s story plays out in an unusual first-person approach, with a moral conundrum gathering in Oppenheimer’s head as he begins to envision the dangers beyond a short-term use of a weapon that could — and did — spark an arms race and a new world order that changed us forever.

The Best Actor Oscar Murphy picked up this evening is in addition to such previously earned Oppenheimer accolades as the Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award prizes.

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Universal’s Oppenheimer had 13 nominations coming into the ceremony and converted seven of those to wins including Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor. The movie has grossed nearly $958M globally.

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Murphy’s competition in the Best Actor category was Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Colman Domingo (Rustin) and Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction).

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