Updated Mar 10, 2024 - Business

"Oppenheimer" dominates Oscars, bucking recent trend

Cast and crew accept the Best Picture award for "Oppenheimer" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Cast and crew accept the Best Picture award for "Oppenheimer" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Christopher Nolan's biographical thriller "Oppenheimer" won the award for best picture at the 2024 Oscars on Sunday, bucking a recent trend of indie films taking home the top prize.

Why it matters: "Oppenheimer" proved that with enough gravitas and commercial appeal, certain films can still win over theater-goers and critics alike.

- Irish actor Cillian Murphy accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "Oppenheimer" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 10, 2024.
Irish actor Cillian Murphy accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "Oppenheimer" onstage during Sunday's Oscars. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Details: The historical drama won seven prizes Sunday, including the awards for Best Director (Nolan), Best Actor (Cillian Murphy), (Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), Best Cinematography (Hoyte Van Hoytema) and Best Film Editing (Jennifer Lame).

What they're saying: "We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb. And for better or for worse, we're all living in Oppenheimer's world," said Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who played the lead role in the film.

  • "So I would really like to dedicate this to the peacemakers everywhere," he added, while accepting the Best Actor award onstage.

Between the lines: Following "Oppenheimer," "Poor Things" took home the second-most wins of the night with four.

Of note: Despite being nominated for eight awards, "Barbie" was largely shut out Sunday, winning just one trophy for Best Song.

Be smart: Heading into the night, "Oppenheimer" was the clear favorite.

  • Not only was the film the most-nominated movie of the night, it was one of the most commercially successful films of 2023.
  • The Universal Pictures movie won more awards at this year's Golden Globes this year than any other film, including Best Picture.

Zoom out: "Oppenheimer" marks the 11th World War II film to win the top prize at the Oscars, award show analyst Ben Zauzmar notes. Other Big Picture winners covering that era have included "Casablanca," "The Sound of Music," "Schindler's List" and "The King's Speech."

Reality check: Big Tech firms were also mostly shut out Sunday night. Netflix won just one award, despite being nominated for more prizes than any other studio this year (18).

  • Apple came up empty handed after being nominated for 13 awards.

The big picture: With the exception of a few political jokes and some celebrity activism around the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars, this year's Oscars marked the continued return to normalcy after becoming mired in politics during the pandemic.

Go deeper: Oppenheimer revealed the human and political sides of science

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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