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'Oppenheimer' claims major awards at Oscars, wins Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor

MANILA, March 13 ------ "Oppenheimer," the blockbuster biopic about the race to build the first atomic bomb, claimed the prestigious best picture trophy at the Academy Awards, along side the Best Actor trophy for Cillian Murphy and the Best Director recognition for Christopher Nolan. 


The film starred Irish actor Cillian Murphy as theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the U.S. effort in the 1940s to create a weapon devastating enough to end World War Two. A three-hour historical drama about science and politics, "Oppenheimer" became an unlikely box office hit and grossed $953.8 million, in addition to widespread critical praise. It was the first of Nolan's films to win best picture. The director has previously won acclaim for "The Dark Knight" Batman trilogy, "Inception," "Memento" and other movies. In his acceptance speech for the Best Director award, Nolan thanked Universal and its executive Donna Langley, who made a big bet on the film, and also praised his cast and his family. 


Nolan noted that movies are just a little bit over 100 years old and thanked the Academy for the honor. "We don't know where this incredible journey is going from here," Nolan said. "But to know that you think I am a meaningful part of it means the world to me." 


Oppenheimer" triumphed over feminist doll adventure "Barbie," a movie it had battled in a box office showdown dubbed "Barbenheimer." Other best picture contenders included "The Holdovers," a dramedy set in a New England boarding school, and the Holocaust tale "The Zone of Interest." In supporting actor categories, Robert Downey Jr. of "Oppenheimer" and "The Holdovers" star Da'Vine Joy Randolph claimed their first Academy Awards. 


Downey, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 before his career was derailed by drug use, won his honor for playing Oppenheimer's professional nemesis. "I'd like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order," Downey joked before he saluted his wife Susan, who he said found him as a "snarly rescue pet" and "loved him back to life." 


Randolph won the best supporting actress trophy for playing a grieving mother and cafeteria worker in the comedy set in a New England boarding school. She shed tears as she accepted her award. "For so long, I always wanted to be different, and now I realize I just need to be myself," she said. "I thank you for seeing me." 


Meanwhile, Emma Stone won best actress for "Poor Things." British Holocaust drama "The Zone of Interest" was named best international feature. Director Jonathan Glazer addressed the Israel-Gaza conflict in his acceptance speech. "Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza. All the victims of this dehumanization. How do we resist?" he said to cheers and applause. "The Boy and the Heron," Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's semi-autobiographical film about grief, was named best animated feature. 


Winners were chosen by the roughly 10,500 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. 




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