‘Oppenheimer’ director Christopher Nolan and wife Emma Thomas to get British knighthood and damehood

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LONDON — The Oscar-winning director of “Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan, and his wife and producer Emma Thomas, will receive a knighthood and damehood for their services to film, according to a statement on Thursday from the U.K. government.

Their recognition comes after their biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” swept the awards season, notably at the Academy Awards earlier this month, where the movie won seven Oscars, including best film and best director.

Nolan, 53, had previously been nominated for “Memento,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk.”

News of their honors was a bit of a surprise, because they are usually handed out twice in the year, once to mark the new year and then on the birthday of King Charles III, who confers the honors. They are sometimes awarded after special achievements, often related to sports and the arts.

The honors are formally awarded at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, often by the U.K. monarch in person. However, the king is currently not undertaking any royal duties, because he is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Born in London to a British father and American mother, Nolan met his future wife, Thomas, 53, while they both attended University College London. They have four children and run a production company, Syncopy, which has been behind many of their blockbusters.

When Nolan was presented with the British Film Institute Fellowship earlier this year for being “one of the world’s most innovative and influential film directors,” he credited his wife.

He said he never felt alone making films as Thomas “always saw things the same way I did in terms of the importance of the medium.”

Addressing the audience at this year’s Academy Awards, Nolan noted cinema is just over a century old.

“Imagine being there 100 years into painting or theater,” said Nolan, who shared the best-picture award with his wife and producer. “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.”

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