‘Oppenheimer’ wins best picture at Oscars

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Oppenheimer,” the star-studded biopic thriller that has been blazing its way through award season, won the Oscar for best picture Sunday at the 96th Academy Awards.

The film, which had 13 nominations going into the night and won seven, fell short of the record for most Oscars won in a single night by a movie. “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), “Titanic” (1997) and “Ben Hur” (1959) hold the record with 11 wins apiece. It was “Poor Things” that upset “Oppenheimer” on many awards early in the night.

“I have been dreaming about this moment for so long,” said Emma Thomas, Nolan’s wife and producing partner, accepting the best picture award.

It was an overwhelmingly successful night — though not a total sweep — for “Oppenheimer.” Director Christopher Nolan snagged the best director award, while Cillian Murphy won the best leading actor award. Robert Downey Jr. won the best supporting actor award, his first Oscar win. The film also won awards for film editing, cinematography and best score.

Nolan, who won two of his three nominations Sunday night, finished shy of the record for most Oscar wins in a single night. “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho won four Oscars in 2020, and Walt Disney (yes, that Walt Disney) won the same number in 1954.

Industry insiders had predicted a positive night for “Oppenheimer” given its success at other award shows throughout the spring, including seven wins at the British Academy Film Awards, and multiple wins at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Producers Guild of America Awards.

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The award season juggernaut was a commercial success last summer, earning more than $950 million worldwide in its box office run. The film contributed to the pop culture phenomenon “Barbenheimer,” where moviegoers attended both the glitzy, pink-filled “Barbie” and a sometimes drabby three-hour epic about an American scientist and the development of the atomic bomb in “Oppenheimer.”

The success of both pictures was seen as a surge of new life into the box office, which had been reeling with post-pandemic woes and superhero fatigue.

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