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Atomic bomb movie Oppenheimer crowned best picture at the Oscars

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ACTING WINNERS: (L-R) Robert Downey, Jr., Da’Vine Joy Randoph, Emma Stone, and Cillian Murphy hold their acting trophies at the photo room at the 96th Academy Awards. — REUTERS/Carlos Barra

LOS ANGELES — Oppenheimer, the blockbuster biopic about the race to build the first atomic bomb, claimed seven Academy Awards including the prestigious best picture trophy on Sunday as Hollywood celebrated a triumphant year in film.

Irish actor Cillian Murphy won best actor for playing theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the US effort in the 1940s to create a weapon that ended World War II. Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan took home the directing Oscar.

“We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb, and for better or worse we are living in Oppenheimer’s world,” Mr. Murphy said as he held his trophy on stage. “So, I would really like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere.”

A three-hour historical drama about science and politics, Oppenheimer became an unlikely box office hit and grossed $953.8 million, in addition to widespread critical praise.

It was the first of Mr. Nolan’s films to win best picture. The director has previously won acclaim for The Dark Knight Batman trilogy, Inception, Memento and other movies.

As he accepted his gold statuette, Mr. Nolan noted that the movie business was a century old and still evolving. “To know you think I’m a meaningful part of this means the world to me,” he said.

EMMA STONE WINS BEST ACTRESS

Emma Stone was named best actress for playing a woman revived from the dead in the dark and wacky comedy Poor Things. It was the second Academy Award for Stone, who landed the best actress honor for 2016 musical La La Land.

“This is really overwhelming,” she said on stage.

The best actress race had been considered one of the tightest competitions with Lily Gladstone nominated for Killers of the Flower Moon. Had she prevailed, Gladstone would have been the first Native American to win an acting Oscar.

In supporting actor categories, Robert Downey, Jr. of Oppenheimer and The Holdovers star Da’Vine Joy Randolph claimed their first Academy Awards.

Mr. Downey, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 before his career was derailed by drug use, won his honor on Sunday for playing Oppenheimer’s professional nemesis, Lewis Strauss. “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order,” Mr. Downey joked before he saluted his wife Susan, who he said found him as a “snarly rescue pet” and “loved him back to life.”

Ms. Randolph received the best supporting actress trophy for playing a grieving mother and cafeteria worker in the comedy set in a New England boarding school. “For so long, I always wanted to be different, and now I realize I just need to be myself,” she said. “I thank you for seeing me.”

Winners were chosen by the roughly 10,500 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

ONE OSCAR FOR BARBIE

After 2023 was marred by labor strikes by actors and writers, the Oscars gave Hollywood a chance to celebrate two blockbusters, Oppenheimer and Barbie, which brought in a combined $2.4 billion at theaters and made movies the center of pop culture last summer.

Barbie ended the night with one Oscar.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell landed best original song for the ballad “What Was I Made For?” The pair had performed the song on stage earlier with Ms. Eilish singing at a microphone next to Mr. O’Connell, her brother and co-writer, on piano.

Ryan Gosling, who played Ken in the blockbuster Barbie movie, delivered an energetic performance of the film’s campy musical number “I’m Just Ken” dressed in a hot pink suit and flanked by an ensemble of male dancers.

He was joined by Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash and walked into the audience to sing with his Barbie castmate Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig. The song, written by Mark Ronson, was nominated for an Oscar for best original song, while Mr. Gosling received a best supporting actor nod for his role as Barbie’s lovestruck sidekick.

Best actress Oscar winner Emma Stone, later in the show, joked during her acceptance speech that the back of her pale green gown had ripped during the performance.

Amid the upbeat moments, international conflicts were on the minds of attendees, winners and protesters outside the theater.

ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT PLAYS A ROLE

When Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest was named best international feature, director Jonathan Glazer addressed the Israel-Gaza conflict in his acceptance speech.

“Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza. All the victims of this dehumanization. How do we resist?” he said to cheers and applause.

A handful of celebrities, including Ms. Eilish, Mahershala Ali, and Mark Ruffalo, wore red pins calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Outside, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters angered by the Israel-Gaza conflict shouted and slowed traffic in the streets surrounding the Dolby Theatre. “While you’re watching, bombs are dropping,” one sign read.

“The Oscars are happening down the road while people are being murdered, killed, bombed,” said 38-year-old business owner Zinab Nassrou.

A NAKED JOHN CENA presents the Oscar for Best Costume Design during the 96th Academy Awards.

JOHN CENA RE-ENACTS A LEGENDARY OSCARS MOMENT

At the Oscars ceremony 50 years ago, a man ran across the stage naked flashing a peace sign behind actor David Niven, a legendary piece of Academy Awards history that host Mr. Kimmel said he wanted to commemorate.

To celebrate the anniversary, actor and wrestling star John Cena walked on stage wearing nothing but the envelope containing the name of the winner of the best costume Oscar.

“Costumes are so important,” Mr. Cena deadpanned. “Maybe the most important thing there is.”

UKRAINE’S FIRST OSCAR

20 Days in Mariupol director Mstyslav Chernov delivered a powerful speech in accepting his award for best documentary feature, Ukraine’s first-ever Oscar. Mr. Chernov’s film documents his time as a video journalist covering the first three weeks of Russia’s siege of the Ukrainian city.

“Probably I will be the first director on this stage that will say I wish I never made this film,” he said. “I wish to be able to exchange this to Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities … but I cannot change history. Cannot change the past.

“But we all together, you, some of the most talented people in the world, we can make sure the history record is set straight and that the truth will prevail and that the people of Mariupol and those who have given their lives will never be forgotten. Because cinema forms memories. And memories form history.”

YOKO ONO GETS A MOTHER’S DAY SHOUT-OUT

Sean Ono Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, asked the audience to wish his famous mother a happy Mother’s Day when he took the stage with the winners of the best animated short Oscar for a film he collaborated on, War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko.

“My mother turned 91 this February, and today is Mother’s Day in the UK,” Mr. Lennon said. “So would everyone please say ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Yoko?’”

The audience obliged.

KIMMEL CELEBRATES STRIKE VICTORIES

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue included the usual jabs at the Hollywood elite with a reference to best supporting actor nominee Robert Downey, Jr.’s history of drug abuse and joking that Barbie co-stars Margot Robbie, who was snubbed for a best actress nomination, and Ryan Gosling, who is nominated for best supporting actor, had already won “the genetic lottery.”

He also celebrated the end of a difficult year in Hollywood, where strikes by actors and writers halted production of movies and television for months.

“Actors no longer have to worry about getting replaced by AI thanks to this historic agreement. Actors are now able to go back to worrying about being replaced by younger, more attractive people …

“This long and difficult work stoppage taught us that this very strange town of ours, as pretentious and superficial as it can be, at its heart is a union town. It’s not just a bunch of heavily Botoxed, Hailey Bieber smoothie-drinking, diabetes prescription-abusing, gluten-sensitive nepo babies with perpetually shivering Chihuahuas. This is a coalition of strong, hard-working, mentally tough laborers, women and men who would 100% sure die if we even had to touch the handle of a shovel.”

Mr. Kimmel, hosting the show for the fourth time, opened the ceremony by complimenting, and taking jabs at, many of the nominees and their films.

The comedian praised Barbie, the pink-drenched doll adventure, for remaking a “plastic doll nobody even liked anymore” into a feminist icon.

Before the film, there was “a better chance of getting my wife to buy our daughter a pack of Marlboro Reds” than a Barbie, Mr. Kimmel said on the broadcast, which was shown live on the US ABC network.

Mr. Kimmel said many of this year’s movies were too long, particularly Martin Scorsese’s 3-1/2-hour epic Killer of the Flower Moon about the murders of members of the Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma.

“In the time it takes you to watch it, you could drive to Oklahoma and solve the murders,” Mr. Kimmel joked.

Late in the show, Mr. Kimmel read aloud from a scathing online review of his performance as host, disclosing at the end that it was written by former US President Donald Trump.

“Has there EVER been a WORSE HOST than Jimmy Kimmel at The Oscars,” Mr. Trump posted on his Truth Social social media platform, also criticizing the show as “Disjointed, boring, and very unfair.”

Talk show host Mr. Kimmel, who’s long feuded with Mr. Trump, jokingly asked the audience to guess which former president had written the post, and then quipped: “Thank you, President Trump. Isn’t it past your jail time?” — Reuters

LOS ANGELES — The following is a complete list of Oscar winners at the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday, presented at a live, televised ceremony from Hollywood.

Best Picture: Oppenheimer

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Best Actress: Emma Stone, Poor Things

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey, Jr., Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Adapted Screenplay: American Fiction

Best Original Screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall

Best Animated Feature Film: The Boy and the Heron

Best Animated Short: War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

Best International Feature: The Zone of Interest, United Kingdom

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol

Best Documentary Short: The Last Repair Shop

Best Original Score: Oppenheimer

Best Original Song: “What Was I Made For?,” Barbie

Best Sound: The Zone of Interest

Best Production Design: Poor Things

Best Live Action Short: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Best Cinematography: Oppenheimer

Best Makeup And Hairstyling: Poor Things

Best Costume Design: Poor Things

Best Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One

Best Film Editing: Oppenheimer