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‘Oppenheimer’ wins best picture at 2024 Oscars

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Christopher Nolan’s epic three-hour historical drama,“Oppenheimer,” was awarded best picture at the Oscars on Sunday night.

The heavily acclaimed film, which follows the story of the Manhattan Project and the making of the first atomic bomb, closed out a triumphant night at the 96th Academy Awards, winning in seven categories.

”Oppenheimer” came into the evening as the most-nominated film of the year, with 13 nods, and most critics predicted it would take home the night’s most coveted award, in addition to several others.

“Oh my goodness, wow. I think that any of us who make movies kind of dream of this moment,” said producer Emma Thomas, who accepted the Oscar on behalf of the “Oppenheimer” team.

“The reason this movie was the movie it was, was Chris Nolan. He is singular, he is brilliant,” she added, speaking of her husband.

Earlier in the evening, actor Cillian Murphy was awarded best actor for his portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer in the film.

Robert Downey Jr., who played Lewis Strauss, the vengeful U.S. government official and businessman who aims to tarnish Oppenheimer’s legacy, also took home the Oscar for best supporting actor.

Nolan followed suit, receiving the best director award before claiming the final prize. The 53-year-old produced the film alongside Thomas, and adapted the screenplay from the biography “American Prometheus” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

“I can’t say enough about the incredible crew we got together on this film,” Nolan said when he accepted the Oscar for best director. He also thanked his wife, “the incredible Emma Thomas; the producer of all our films and all our children. I love you,” he said.

The film’s wins came as no surprise Sunday night, as oddsmaker and Oscar handicapper Danny Sheridan said before the ceremony, “If this were a horse race where they play the starting trumpet, there would only be one horse in the starting gate.”

When the film was released last July, it combined with Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” to create the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon that revitalized the North American box office to pre-pandemic heights. Just on its own, Nolan’s epic grossed nearly $1 billion.

“Oppenheimer” also consistently took home big awards in the lead up to the Oscars. Christopher Nolan won best director at the Golden Globes in January and took the time to deflect praise to others who worked on the film.

“As a director, I realize I can only accept this on behalf of people. As directors, we bring people together and we try to get them to give their best,” he said.

Nolan also thanked “the incredible work of our amazing crew,” and gave a shoutout to the movie’s star Murphy, whom Nolan called “my partner in crime for 20 years.”

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