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Oppenheimer sweeps awards with best picture and actor wins

LOS ANGELES — Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic Oppenheimer is the big winner of the 96th Oscars after scooping seven awards including best picture and best actor for Cillian Murphy.

The film, which had 13 nominations, also wins best supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr, as well as best director for Christopher Nolan, plus film editing, cinematography and original score

The drama, telling the story of the “father of the atomic bomb”, lost the box office battle to Barbie during last summer’s Barbenheimer showdown but has now won the awards war with Greta Gerwig’s Mattel comedy winning just one Oscar for the best original song.

Emma Stone was awarded best actress for her role in Poor Things, which also wins best production design, make-up and costume design.

Host Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the show by welcoming “these beautiful human actors” in attendance after a hard year of strikes.

Cillian Murphy was named best actor for his performance, beating out Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright, and Robert Downey Jr was named best supporting actor, up against Robert De Niro and Ryan Gosling.

Murphy, winning his first Oscar from his first nomination, is also the first ever Irish-born winner in his category. “I’m a little overwhelmed,” he said before dedicating his award “to the peacemakers everywhere”.

Downey Jr won his first Oscar after being nominated twice before for Chaplin and Tropic Thunder. “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy in that order,” he said before later adding: “I needed this job more than it needed me.”

Nolan picked up his first best director Oscar, after being nominated previously for Dunkirk, beating out Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Glazer. When speaking about cinema in his speech he said: “We don’t know where this incredible journey is going from here but to know that you think I’m a meaningful part of it means the world to me.”

Emma Stone pulled a surprise, beating out favorite Lily Gladstone to be named best actress for her role in Yorgos Lanthimos’s offbeat period comedy Poor Things. It’s the actor’s second best actress Oscar after previously winning for La La Land. “It’s not about me, it’s about a team that came together to make something greater than the sum of its parts,” she said during an emotional speech.

The film also picked up awards for production design, hairstyling and makeup and costume design.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in 70s-set drama The Holdovers after winning every major precursor award on her way to the stage. “For so long, I’ve always wanted to be different and now I realise I just need to be myself,” a tearful Randolph said in her speech. It’s the first year that two women of colour have won acting awards in the same night.

Barbie won just one award from its eight nominations, taking home the best original song Oscar for Billie Eilish’s What Was I Made For?. Eilish, winning with brother and collaborator Finneas, received a standing ovation earlier in the evening after performing the song on stage. The pair previously won for No Time to Die.

Ryan Gosling also performed his nominated song I’m Just Ken in a diamond-studded pink suit surrounded by dancing Kens, including stars from the film, as well as a guitar cameo from Slash.

Justine Triet and partner Arthur Harari also won best original screenplay for marital drama Anatomy of a Fall. Triet is the first French woman to win in this category. “It will help me in my midlife crisis, I think,” she joked in her speech.

Best adapted screenplay went to Cord Jefferson for American Fiction, his first big screen script. The literary comedy is an adaptation of Percival Everett’s novel Erasure.

20 Days in Mauripol, which tells of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was named best documentary feature, the country’s first ever Oscar.

The ceremony was briefly delayed with reports of security issues for attendees as a result of a pro-Palestine protest disrupting traffic with hundreds of protesters marching with signs reading “No Awards for Genocide”.

Various celebrities, including Billie Eilish and Ramy Youssef, also wore red pins in support of a ceasefire in Gaza. “We really want lasting justice and peace for the Palestinian people,” the Poor Things star said on the red carpet.

The ceremony brought back an old practice where a group of previous winners present acting Oscars which allowed for actors such as Lupita Nyong’o, Sam Rockwell, Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Lawrence to pay tribute to friends and co-workers.

Oppenheimer has become the highest-grossing best picture winner since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in 2004. It is also the first film to win best picture, actor and supporting actor since Ben Hur in 1960.

Nominated films that ended up empty-handed included Killers of the Flower Moon, Past Lives, Maestro, Nyad and Society of the Snow.

Last year saw Everything Everywhere All at Once win seven major awards, including best picture. — Agencies

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