One of the highly anticipated films of the year, one of the best films of the year, directed by one of the best directors in the industry, etc., etc. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” finally removes the prefix “one of the” by finally earning the Best Picture trophy at the Oscars and standing out among many great grand films in the competition.

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer takes the Best Pictures trophy home

Every year many blockbuster films get nominated at the Oscars. However, it has been a tradition for smaller art films to take the Academy trophy home. This time, to everyone’s surprise, the biggest hit of last year, “Oppenheimer” broke the tradition and won the Best Picture Award at the Oscars. Oppenheimer has been a box office success, grossing over $957 million worldwide, the highest for a Best Picture winner since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004, which grossed $1.15 billion.

It’s also the first Best Picture winner in over a decade to earn over $100 million domestically since Ben Affleck’s Argo, which earned $136 million domestically and $232.3 million globally. When we talk about breaking old records, Oppenheimer is the first Best Picture winner released in July, the heart of the summer movie season, since Forrest Gump in 1994.

The nomination of unfamiliar films has been a common theme at the Oscars. However, this year’s nominations saw representation from top-grossing films, including Barbie. Greta Gerwig’s directed film was a counterpart to the ‘Barbenheimer’ phenomenon, which gave tough competition to Nolan’s film. The Mattel doll film garnered significant attention, earning $1.44 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2023. 

The recent wins for “Oppenheimer” have cemented the bond between Nolan and Universal CCO Donna Langley’s movie empire. Nolan was previously associated with Warner Bros. for years. However, due to creative conflicts with its then-parent company, WarnerMedia, he decided to part ways with it. 

Coming back to the present, Nolan’s collaboration with Universal has proved fruitful. Being made under the production banner Universal Pictures, the film delivered Nolan his first Oscars. Moreover, it parallels Universal’s previous records, where the studios won seven Oscars for a single film, including Out of Africa, Schindler’s List, and The Sting. 

With Oppenheimer, Universal marks its return to the Academy stage. Previously, it received honors from the Academy five years ago for Green Book.  The last time the studio won Best Picture twice in just five years was for The Sting in 1974 and The Deer Hunter in 1979. So it can be said that not just Nolan’s film has benefitted from this partnership, but it was an equal deal for both. With Nolan’s film, Universal Pictures is now the only legacy studio to win Best Picture over the past decade. 

Oppenheimer’s other honors at the Academy include Best Director for Nolan, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr., Best Score for Ludwig Göransson, Best Cinematography for Hoyte van Hoytema, and Best Editing for Jennifer Lame. Notably, it’s the first film since Ben-Hur in 1960 to secure wins for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.

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