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Christopher Nolan’s historic epic based on J Robert Oppenheimer bagged seven statuettes at the 96th Academy Awards held at Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, on Sunday. Of the 13 nominations, Oppenheimer won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Director trophies for Nolan. 

The filmmaker, who bagged his first Oscar after eight nominations, said, “We don’t know where this incredible journey is going from here. But to know that you think that I’m a meaningful part of it means the world to me.” It was also the maiden win for Cillian Murphy (Best Actor) and Robert Downey Jr (Best Supporting Actor). 

Zendaya, John Cena and Margot Robbie

Thanking his long-time collaborator Nolan and his producer-wife Emma Thomas, Murphy said, “It’s been the wildest, most exhilarating, most creatively satisfying journey you’ve taken me on over the last 20 years, I owe you more than I can say.” In his acceptance speech, Downey Jr said, “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order.” He also thanked his wife, Susan, who he compared to a veterinarian who “found a snarling rescue pet, and you loved me back to life.” 

Emma Stone was overwhelmed with her Best Actress win for Poor Things. “The other night, I was panicking … that maybe something like this could happen,” she said. “Yorgos [Lanthimos, director of Poor Things] said to me, ‘Please take yourself out of it.’ And he was right, because it’s not about me. It’s about a team that came together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. And that is the best part about making movies is all of us together,” said the actor who was helped by bestie Jennifer Lawrence when she suffered a wardrobe malfunction. The film also bagged awards for Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design. 

Sydney Sweeney, Ryan Gosling and Kim Kardashian

Interestingly, the Best Costume Design was one of the highlights of the ceremony as John Cena appeared to reluctantly come on stage in almost nothing as he announced the winner. The wrestler-actor regaled the audience with his tribute to Robert Open, who streaked on stage during the 1974 Oscars. 

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who won the Best Supporting Actress award for The Holdovers, said, “I didn’t think I was supposed to be doing this as a career. I started off as a singer, and my mother said to me, ‘Go across that street to that theatre department. There’s something for you there.’ And I thank my mother for doing that.” 

The other highlight of the ceremony was Ryan Gosling’s energetic performance to the pacy song, I’m just Ken, from Barbie, sporting a sequined hot pink suit. Actor-producer Margot Robbie’s fantasy comedy, which earned eight nods, took home only one trophy, for Best Original Song, for music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. 

List of winners

Best Picture: Oppenheimer (Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan)
Best Director: Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)
Best Actor: Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)
Best Actress: Emma Stone (Poor Things)
Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer)
Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) 
Best International Feature Film: The Zone of Interest (United Kingdom)
Best Original Screenplay: Justine Triet and Arthur Harari (Anatomy of a Fall)
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Cord Jefferson (American Fiction)
Best Documentary Short Film: The Last Repair Shop
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol
Best Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema (Oppenheimer)
Best Live Action Short Film: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Best Animated Short Film: War Is Over!, inspired by the Music of John & Yoko
Best Animated Film: The Boy and the Heron
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier and Josh Weston (Poor Things)
Best Production Design: James Price, Shona Heath and Zsuzsa Mihalek (Poor Things)
Best Costume Design: Holly Waddington (Poor Things) 
Best Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One
Best Film Editing: Jennifer Lame (Oppenheimer) 
Best Sound: The Zone of Interest; Tarn Willers, Johnnie Burn
Best Original Score: Ludwig Goransson (Oppenheimer)
Best Original Song: Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell (What Was I Made For? from Barbie) 

Hat-tip to action 

SS Rajamouli’s RRR made an appearance this time in a montage celebrating the contribution of the stunt community towards international cinema. Gosling, who presented the showreel, said, “They have been such a crucial part of our industry since the beginning of cinema… To the stunt performers and stunt coordinators who help make movies magic. We salute you.” Co-presenter Emily Blunt added, “They are truly the unsung heroes who risk life and limb for cinema.”

Remembering Nitin Desai

Renowned production director Nitin Desai, who created sets for blockbusters such as the Oscar-nominated Lagaan (2001), besides magnum opuses like Devdas (2002) and Jodhaa Akbar(2008), was among the film personalities who were honoured in the In Memoriam segment at the 96th Academy Awards. Every year, the Academy Awards pay a tribute to industry legends who passed away in the last one year in its ‘In Memoriam’ montage. Desai, 57, was found hanging at his studio in Karjat near Mumbai on August 2, 2023. 



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