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‘Oppenheimer’ discovers victory at 2024 Academy Awards

Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" took home the most number of wins for the 2024 Academy Awards.
Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" took home the most number of wins for the 2024 Academy Awards.

As the aftershocks of 2023’s Barbenheimer phenomenon start to fade, the 2024 Academy Awards saw one final surge for the latter half of the moniker. “Oppenheimer” took over the ceremony, ending the night with seven wins out of 13 nominations, including Best Picture.

Christopher Nolan’s historical/legal epic was a dominant force, winning Best Actor for Cillian Murphy as the titular scientist and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr. as politician Lewis Strauss, as well as Best Director for Nolan. Earlier in the show, it also took home Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

In his acceptance speech, Nolan thanked his many collaborators and highlighted how young of an art form film is.

“Movies are just a little bit over 100 years old, I mean, imagine being there 100 years into painting, or theater,” Nolan said. “We don’t know where this incredible journey is going from here, but to know you think I’m a meaningful part of it means the world to me.”

Coming second in number of wins was “Poor Things,” which went home with four of its 11 nominations. Emma Stone was awarded Best Actress for her portrayal of scientific experiment Bella Baxter, and the film also won Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Costume Design.

Stone’s win was the most unexpected of the night. Many critics were predicting Lily Gladstone to take the award for her quietly devastating performance as Mollie Burkhart in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which left the ceremony empty-handed despite receiving 10 nominations. Gladstone was the first Native American actress to ever be nominated at the Oscars.

Despite a frazzled appearance, Stone used her speech time to pay tribute to the other nominees in her category, including Gladstone.

“Sandra, Annette, Carey, Lily, I share this with you. I am in awe of you,” Stone said. “And it has been such an honor to do all of this together, I hope we get to keep doing more together.”

“The Zone of Interest” was the last film to win multiple awards, walking away with Best International Feature Film and Best Sound.

Director Jonathan Glazer was the only winner to acknowledge the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine in his speech, protests of which blocked traffic outside the venue, causing the ceremony to begin five minutes behind schedule.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph was the remaining acting winner, claiming Best Supporting Actress for her turn in “The Holdovers.” She delivered an emotional speech praising all the people in her life that helped her get there, earning tears from co-star Paul Giamatti.

Other notable winners included court drama “Anatomy of a Fall” for Best Original Screenplay, authorial satire “American Fiction” for Best Adapted Screenplay, Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” for Best Animated Feature and “Godzilla Minus One” for Best Visual Effects. Wes Anderson also won the first Oscar of his career in Best Live Action Short Film for his Roald Dahl adaptation, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.”

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Despite only winning one Oscar for Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell’s “What Was I Made For?” in Best Original Song, “Barbie” was still given plenty of attention throughout the night.

The highlight of the ceremony was a bombastic performance of “I’m Just Ken” by the titular doll himself, Ryan Gosling. Paying tribute to “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and joined by his fellow Kens on stage as well as producer Mark Ronson and guest guitarist Slash, Gosling committed fully to the number, having the time of his life.

The fun of Gosling’s performance stood in contrast to the rest of the night, which was plagued by the continued presence of Jimmy Kimmel as host.

Now in his fourth year of hosting the Oscars, Kimmel feels like an inevitability, rattling off the same tired jokes and uninteresting observations. Whether it’s cracks about film runtimes, Downey Jr.’s former drug addiction problems, animation being a medium of kid’s films or how certain movies could have been written by A.I., anytime Kimmel was onscreen felt  exhausting.

A few bits did manage to stick out as gems, however. Pairing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as presenters was inspired, allowing them to reminisce about their collaboration in the film “Twins” as well as their shared history as Batman villains, including a great crowd reaction shot from Michael Keaton.

Similarly, John Cena showed great comedic chops while presenting Best Costume Design, emerging from backstage completely naked except for the envelope.

The real star, however, was John Mulaney, who stepped up to present Best Sound. Mulaney matched his typical fast-paced and witty delivery style with a clear genuine appreciation for film, rattling off jokes about famous (and infamous) film lines as well as hilariously recounting the plot of “Field of Dreams.”

“You know, for years movies didn’t have sound, and then, they figured it out,” Mulaney said. “Some people say that the silent era was the golden era of film. These people are difficult and insane.”

Mulaney’s exceptional performance, as well as the rave reviews he received for hosting the Oscars’ Governor’s Awards earlier this year, have led many to call for him to host the show next year. Considering what he would be replacing, it’s not hard to see it as a step up.