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2024 Oscars: Oppenheimer Leads the Wins


Hollywood  •  11 Mar, 2024  •  16,999 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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The 96th Academy Awards unfolded with grandeur, celebrating the pinnacle of cinematic achievements. Hosted by the charismatic Jimmy Kimmel at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles, the night was a spectacle of stars, drama, and historic moments. Leading the charge was the atomic bomb drama Oppenheimer, sweeping seven Oscars from its thirteen nominations, a testament to its profound impact. Amidst this, the event was shadowed by protests, adding a real-world gravitas to the glittering ceremony. This article delves into the highlights, capturing the essence of a night where dreams were immortalised in gold.

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Best Picture: Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer Team
Image Credits: The Telegraph

Oppenheimer, a three-hour epic directed by Christopher Nolan, dominated the Oscars by winning the Best Picture award, culminating its journey with a total of seven wins out of thirteen nominations. The movie, which delves into the life of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in developing the atomic bomb, was celebrated for its complex narrative and compelling execution.

The award was presented by the legendary actor Al Pacino, and producer Emma Thomas, accepting the award, lauded Chris Nolan for his unparalleled vision and directorial prowess, emphasizing that the movie's success was inseparable from his creative guidance.

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Best Actress: Emma Stone

Emma Stone
Image Credits: Glamour UK

Emma Stone's portrayal of Bella Baxter in Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, earned her the Best Actress Oscar. In the film, Stone's character is a complex figure whose life takes extraordinary turns, showcasing Stone's range and depth as an actress.

During her acceptance speech, Stone revealed a humorous mishap – her dress broke, which she suspected happened during a particular scene, sharing this moment with the audience and adding a light-hearted touch to her win.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan
Image Credits: Mashable

After several nominations over the years, Christopher Nolan finally clinched the Best Director Oscar for Oppenheimer. This win was a significant milestone in Nolan's career, recognized for his unique storytelling approach that goes beyond conventional biopics to explore the psychological depth and moral dilemmas faced by J. Robert Oppenheimer.

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Best Actor: Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
Image Credits: Mashable

Irish actor Cillian Murphy's portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer earned him the Best Actor accolade. His performance was lauded for capturing the complexity of Oppenheimer's character, from his brilliance as a physicist to his inner turmoil over the consequences of his work.

Murphy's depiction was pivotal to the film's success, earning him recognition across various awards ceremonies and finally securing the Oscar, marking a peak in his acting career.

Best Song: Billie Eilish and Finneas

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
Image Credits: The Hollywood Reporter

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell made history by becoming the youngest two-time Oscar winners in the Best Song category with their contribution to the Barbie soundtrack, "What Was I Made For?" Their win underscored their significant impact on contemporary music and film, following their previous victory for the song "No Time To Die." In her acceptance speech, Eilish expressed her gratitude for the song's role in the film, highlighting the synergy between their musical talents and cinematic storytelling.

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Best Original Score: Ludwig Goransson

Ludwig Goransson
Image Credits: The Daily Guardian

Ludwig Goransson won his second Oscar for Best Original Score with his work on Oppenheimer, after previously winning for Black Panther. Goransson's score for Oppenheimer was praised for its ability to complement the film's intense narrative and emotional depth, enhancing the cinematic experience and contributing significantly to the movie's overall impact.

Best Sound: The Zone of Interest

Jonathan Glazer
Image Credits: The Times of Israel

The Zone of Interest won the Best Sound award, thanks to the innovative approach taken by sound designer Johnnie Burn and director Jonathan Glazer. Instead of relying on traditional sound recording methods, Burn collected real sounds from various European locales to create an immersive soundscape that underscored the film's themes of unseen cruelty and horror, setting a new standard for auditory storytelling in cinema.

Best Live Action Short: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Image Credits: X.com

Wes Anderson's The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, based on a Roald Dahl short story, won Best Live Action Short. Anderson's signature style—a meticulous blend of symmetry and visual splendour—was perfectly suited to Dahl's fantastical narrative, making the film a standout in its category. This adaptation is one of four Dahl stories Anderson is bringing to life for Netflix, showcasing his ability to translate distinctive literary worlds into cinematic ones.

Best Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema

Hoyte Van Hoytema
Image Credits: The Daily Guardian

Hoyte Van Hoytema was awarded Best Cinematography for his work on Oppenheimer, a film that posed unique challenges due to its intense focus on character and dialogue. Van Hoytema's innovative techniques in framing and lighting elevated the film's visual narrative, turning potentially static scenes into captivating visual experiences, a testament to his skill and creativity behind the camera.

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol

20 Days in Mariupol Team
Image Credits: The Hollywood Reporter

20 Days in Mariupol marked a historic moment by winning the first Oscar ever for Ukraine in the Best Documentary Feature category. The film follows a team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol, documenting the harrowing reality of the Russian invasion. Their courageous efforts to report on the atrocities, including dying children and bombed hospitals, provided the world with vital, unflinching insights into the horrors of war.

Best Documentary Short: The Last Repair Short

The Last Repair Short Team
Image Credits: Deadline

The Last Repair Short won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, shedding light on a unique Los Angeles program dedicated to repairing musical instruments for public school students at no cost. The film celebrates the craftspeople who maintain these instruments, highlighting the importance of music education and the impact of this program on students' lives, offering a heartwarming glimpse into a lesser-known aspect of the arts.

Best Film Editing: Jennifer Lame

Jennifer Lame
Image Credits: Deccan Herald

Jennifer Lame earned the Best Film Editing award for her meticulous work on Oppenheimer. Lame's challenge was to translate the densely packed script into a coherent and engaging cinematic experience, maintaining the narrative's complexity while ensuring it remained accessible to the audience. Her success in this regard was a crucial factor in the film's overall effectiveness, demonstrating the vital role of editing in storytelling.

Best Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One Team
Image Credits: CNA Lifestyle

Godzilla Minus One received the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, a remarkable achievement considering the relatively small team of 35 artists at Shirogumi's Chōfu studio who crafted all 610 visual effects shots. Under the supervision of Yamazaki and the direction of Kiyoko Shibuya, the team's innovative work brought the film's monstrous battles to life with stunning realism and creativity.

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
Image Credits: The Daily Guardian

Robert Downey Jr. won his first-ever Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Oppenheimer. Playing the envious Lewis Strauss, Downey's performance was a key highlight of the film, earning him critical acclaim and recognition. In his acceptance speech, Downey humorously thanked his "terrible childhood," showcasing his ability to blend personal charm with professional excellence.

Best International Feature: The Zone of Interest

Image Credits: X.com

The Zone of Interest, representing the UK, won Best International Feature. The film offers a chilling and unique perspective on the Holocaust, focusing on the human aspects of complicity and survival in a brutal world. Its distinctive approach and refusal to depict the full horror of the genocidal regime in graphic detail set it apart, earning it accolades and its third win in this category for the UK.

Best Costume Design: Poor Things

Holly Waddington
Image Credits: WWD

Poor Things won the Best Costume Design Oscar, with designer Holly Waddington bringing Yorgos Lanthimos' vision to life. The directive was to steer clear of conventional period drama aesthetics, blending elements of sci-fi and historical drama to create a unique visual style that complemented the film's fantastical elements and narrative complexity.

Best Production Design: Poor Things

Poor Things Team
Image Credits: BBC

In addition to Costume Design, Poor Things also secured the Oscar for Best Production Design. The team, under Lanthimos' guidance, crafted a world that evoked the old-school charm of filmmakers like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, utilizing techniques such as miniatures, painted backdrops, and rear projection to create a visually stunning and immersive setting.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Poor Things

Poor Things Team
Image Credits: The Hindu

Poor Things further showcased its artistic excellence by winning the Best Makeup and Hairstyling award. Chief hair and makeup artist Nadia Stacey's innovative approach to Bella Baxter's character, especially her rapidly growing hair, served as a symbol of her defiance against societal norms. This creative decision underscored the film's themes of identity and transformation, contributing to its overall visual impact.

Best Original Screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall Team
Image Credits: Live India

Anatomy of a Fall won Best Original Screenplay, a notable achievement for French cinema. Director-write Justine Triet crafted a complex and compelling narrative that captivated audiences and critics alike. In her acceptance speech, Triet reflected on the film's journey and the unexpected success, highlighting the screenplay's critical role in the film's storytelling.

Best Adapted Screenplay: American Fiction

Cord Jefferson
Image Credits: Times Now

American Fiction clinched the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, offering a sharp critique of the exploitation of Black culture within the entertainment industry. The film's narrative, centred on a frustrated novelist who challenges the industry's stereotypes, provided a powerful commentary on racial dynamics and the consumption of Black art, marking a significant moment in the night's proceedings.

Best Supporting Actress: Da'Vine Joy Randolph

Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Image Credits: NBC Connecticut

Da'Vine Joy Randolph was awarded the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "The Holdovers". Her emotional acceptance speech highlighted the impact of faith in her journey, as well as the importance of representation and diversity in cinema. Randolph's win was celebrated not just for her performance but also for what it represented in terms of progress within the industry.

Conclusion

The 96th Academy Awards was a night of unforgettable moments, groundbreaking achievements, and heartfelt tributes. From historic wins to powerful performances, it underscored the film industry's ability to reflect both the beauty and complexity of the human experience.

Oppenheimer's sweeping victory, along with the recognition of emerging talents and cinematic innovations, highlighted a year of exceptional storytelling and artistic bravery. As we celebrate these achievements, the Oscars continue to inspire and challenge filmmakers and audiences alike, promising an exciting future for cinema.

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