'Oppenheimer' tops Oscar nominations with 13

AFP , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

"Oppenheimer" -- Christopher Nolan's masterly portrait of the father of the atomic bomb -- topped the Oscars nominations Tuesday, earning an impressive 13 nods including for best picture.

Oppenheimer
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Robert Downey Jr. in a scene from Oppenheimer. (Photo: AP)


It was followed by "Poor Things," a female-focused take on the Frankenstein myth, on 11, and Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon" on 10, in the race for Hollywood's most prestigious awards.

But it was a somewhat disappointing morning for "Barbie," the other half of last summer's "Barbenheimer" box office phenomenon and the year's highest-grossing film.

The comedy had to settle for eight nods -- not bad for a satire based on a popular line of plastic dolls, but lower than many had predicted, and missing out on key nominations for Greta Gerwig as director, and star Margot Robbie in best actress.

"Oppenheimer," which came out in theaters on the same day, and grossed almost $1 billion, led the way with nods for its director Nolan, and stars Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt.

Murphy told the Irish Times he was at his parents' house in Cork, when he heard the news, and celebrated in a low-key, but very Irish, way.

"We were just having a cup of tea, and then my mum brought out the cake -- so we had tea and cake," the star said.

"Oppenheimer" -- which is the clear favorite to win best picture, the industry's top prize, at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10 -- also racked up nods in an array of technical categories.

"Killers of the Flower Moon," Scorsese's three-and-a-half-hour true crime opus on murders ripping through the oil-rich Osage community in early 20th century Oklahoma, made history.

Star Lily Gladstone became the Oscars' first Native American nominee for best actress.

She will now go head-to-head with Emma Stone, the star of "Poor Things," which also earned an acting nod for Mark Ruffalo, along with a swathe of technical nominations, from cinematography to costume design.

But there was disappointment for "Killers" star Leonardo DiCaprio, who failed to earn a best actor nomination, and the movie also missed out on best adapted screenplay.

- Record year for women directors -

It proved to be a record year for female directors.

Three movies helmed by women -- French courtroom drama "Anatomy of a Fall," "Barbie" and "Past Lives" -- were nominated for best picture, for the first time in more than nine decades of Academy Awards.

Only 19 films by female directors had previously ever been nominated for best picture.

Tuesday's announcement was a big success for "Anatomy" -- despite it not being France's official entry in the international film category, a decision that has caused a little hand-wringing in Paris.

As well as earning expected best picture and best actress (Sandra Huller) nominations, director Justine Triet secured a nod that had been widely predicted to go to Gerwig, and it also earned recognition for editing and original screenplay.

Bradley Cooper earned an impressive three individual nominations for acting in, producing and writing "Maestro." The Leonard Bernstein biopic, which Cooper also directed, took seven nominations.

Other strong performers included Alexander Payne's "The Holdovers," about a teacher, a cook and a student holed up in a boarding school over the festive season.

It took five nominations, including acting nods for Paul Giamatti and Da'Vine Joy Randolph, who are both now considered strong contenders in their respective categories.

And it was a good morning for "American Fiction," a deft satire on race, publishing and Hollywood, which also had five nominations including for stars Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown.

The best picture category was rounded out by "Past Lives," a Korean-American production about love, friendship and how things change but stay the same, and bleak Nazi drama "The Zone of Interest."

Actors Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid hosted the nominations announcement from a still-dark Los Angeles at 5:30 am (1330 GMT) Tuesday.

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