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‘Oppenheimer’ wins seven prizes at British Academy Film Awards

Published:Tuesday | February 20, 2024 | 12:09 AM


Atom bomb epic Oppenheimer won seven prizes, including best picture, director and actor, at the 77th British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, cementing its front-runner status for the Oscars next month.

Gothic fantasia Poor Things took five prizes and Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest won three.

British-born film-maker Christopher Nolan won his first best director BAFTA for Oppenheimer, and Irish performer Cillian Murphy won the best actor prize for playing physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb.

Oppenheimer had a field-leading 13 nominations but missed out on the record of nine trophies, set in 1971 by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It won the best film race against Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon, Anatomy of a Fall, and The Holdovers. Oppenheimer also scooped trophies for editing, cinematography and musical score, as well as the best supporting actor prize for Robert Downey Jr., who played Atomic Energy Commission head Lewis Strauss.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph was named best supporting actress for playing a boarding school cook in The Holdovers and said she felt a “responsibility I don’t take lightly” to tell the stories of underrepresented people like her character Mary.

Oppenheimer faced stiff competition in what is widely considered a vintage year for cinema and an awards season energised by the end of actors’ and writers’ strikes that shut down Hollywood for months.

The Zone of Interest, a British-produced film shot in Poland with a largely German cast, was named both best British film and best film not in English – a first – and also took the prize for its sound, which has been described as the real star of the film.

Jonathan Glazer’s unsettling drama takes place in a family home just outside the walls of the Auschwitz death camp, whose horrors are heard and hinted at, rather than seen.

Ukraine war documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, produced by The Associated Press and PBS Frontline, won the prize for best documentary.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Doctor Who star David Tennant – who entered wearing a kilt and sequined top while carrying a dog named Bark Ruffalo – was a glitzy, British-accented appetiser for Hollywood’s Academy Awards, closely watched for hints about who might win at the Oscars on March 10.

The prize for original screenplay went to French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall. The film about a woman on trial over the death of her husband was written by director Justine Triet and her partner, Arthur Harari.

Historical epic Killers of the Flower Moon; Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro; grief-flecked love story, All of Us Strangers; and class-war dramedy Saltburn all won nothing despite multiple nominations.

Barbie, one half of 2023’s Barbenheimer box office juggernaut and the year’s top-grossing film, also came up empty from five nominations. Barbie director Greta Gerwig failed to get a directing nomination for either the BAFTAs or the Oscars in what was seen by many as a major snub.

Before the ceremony, nominees, including Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Emily Blunt, Rosamund Pike, Ryan Gosling, and Ayo Edebiri all walked the red carpet at London’s Royal Festival Hall, along with presenters Andrew Scott, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, and David Beckham.