Oppenheimer wins big with 7 Oscars, Big Picture

As the curtains close on yet another memorable Academy Awards ceremony, our gaze shifts towards the horizon of 2024 and beyond.

By: Luke Colling March 10, 2024 Entertainment

And just like that, the 2024 Oscar race concludes, with ‘Oppenheimer’ emerging as the undisputed champion, clinching seven prestigious wins. This cinematic masterpiece chronicles the journey of J. Robert Oppenheimer amidst the dawn of the atomic era. The film also ushering in a wave of first-time Oscar winners. Notably, Christopher Nolan, the visionary director behind this epic, triumphs with two Oscars, finally seizing his first after an impressive eight nominations.

No Surprises Tonight for Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer stormed into the night boasting a staggering 13 nominations, ultimately securing about half of them as victories. Cillian Murphy, who portrayed the titular character with unparalleled finesse, seized his inaugural Oscar, a culmination of his remarkable dominance across numerous award shows this year. Additionally, co-star Robert Downey Jr., embodying Lewis Strauss with unparalleled depth, clinched his first Oscar.

While the film scored the ultimate prize, Christopher Nolan also snagged ‘Best Director’—a category he’s been gunning for, having been nominated for Dunkirk back in 2017 but coming up short.

Oppenheimer also scooped up wins in ‘Cinematography,’ ‘Film Editing,’ and ‘Music Written for Motion Pictures,’ making it a total of seven wins for the night.

Poor Things marks Emma Stone’s 2nd Oscar Win

While ‘Best Picture’ eluded it, Poor Things emerged a winner tonight, clinching four Oscar wins, including a delightful surprise with Emma Stone’s victory as Bella Baxter. The competition for this particular acting award was close, with Stone emerging with the win against Lily Gladstone in a closely contested battle.

This marks Emma Stone’s second Oscar win, following her memorable triumph in 2016’s La La Land. In addition to Stone’s accolade, Poor Things secured victories in ‘Production Design,’ ‘Costume Design,’ and ‘Makeup and Hairstyling’.

Yorgos Lanthimos, the creative force behind Poor Things missed out on any of his three nominations as he has amassed five nominations at the Oscars. His next film, ‘Kinds of Kindness’ has already wrapped production and reunited him with Emma Stone should be an early favorite when it debuts.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph kicked off the night

The Holdovers celebrated a singular triumph as Da’Vine Joy Randolph clinched her Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actress’. Since the film’s debut last year, Randolph has been on a winning streak across various award shows.

In an emotional acceptance speech, Randolph tearfully expressed gratitude to the voters for “seeing me,” emphasizing her journey of self-discovery. She poignantly remarked, “For so long, I’ve always wanted to be different, and now, I realize, I just need to be myself.”

A Tough Year for the Industry

This year’s Academy Awards unfolded against the backdrop of challenging times for Hollywood, grappling with the reverberations of artificial intelligence’s impact. The industry found itself embroiled in labor disputes throughout much of 2023, with major actors and writer unions deadlocked, resulting in one of the longest strikes in Hollywood history.

The release schedule was drastically affected, with films slated for fall 2023 pushed back to 2024 and beyond. This included highly anticipated releases like Dune: Part 2, reshaping the landscape of the awards season and opening up opportunities for films that debuted earlier in the year. Additionally, Hollywood navigated ongoing disruptions and the transformative shift towards streaming platforms.

Despite a resurgence in box office returns reminiscent of pre-2020 levels, expectations weren’t fully met. Even powerhouse franchises like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe fell short of projections after dominating the big screen for over a decade. Reflecting on these changes, our editor-in-chief remarked:

“We’re witnessing a changing of the guard. While the past decade has been defined by the dominance of superhero blockbusters, audiences are now yearning for fresh narratives and compelling reasons to return to the movie theater.”

How did the rest of the Oscars go?

Poor Things and Oppenheimer may have secured roughly half of tonight’s awards, but there were still surprises and standout moments aplenty. ‘American Fiction’, a satirical take on a writer navigating racial themes, snagged the trophy for Best Adapted Screenplay. Meanwhile, the gripping courtroom drama ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ clinched Best Original Screenplay. Adding to the mix, ‘The Zone of Interest’ walked away with two Oscars for ‘Best Sound’ and ‘Best International Film’.

In a remarkable achievement, Billie Eilish, at just 22 years old, became the youngest two-time Oscar winner for her song ‘What Was I Made for?’, co-written with her brother, Finneas O’Connell. Their first win came in 2021 with ‘No Time to Die’.

Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki made history as the oldest recipient of the Best Animated Feature award for ‘The Boy and the Heron’. The film’s recent surge in acclaim, coupled with Miyazaki’s previous win for ‘Spirited Away’ in 2002, underscores its enduring impact.

Wes Anderson, despite his longstanding dominance in filmmaking over the past two decades, clinched his first Oscar for ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’, a short film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Where do the Oscars go now?

As the curtains close on yet another memorable Academy Awards ceremony, our gaze shifts towards the horizon of 2024 and beyond. While we eagerly anticipate the overdue recognition for Casting Directors, slated for the 2026 ceremony, several burning questions linger as we contemplate the future of the Oscars.

The first query that echoes through the industry is a perennial one: Are the Oscars still relevant?

Despite its esteemed status as the pinnacle of entertainment accolades, the annual scrutiny over its relevance persists. With the upcoming 97th ceremony on the horizon, we find ourselves pondering the show’s diminishing viewership—a stark contrast to its heyday two decades ago when it commanded 40-50 million viewers on average. Now struggling to breach the 20 million mark, the Oscars confront a pivotal moment in their cultural impact. Following a year brimming with monumental blockbusters like Barbie and Oppenheimer, the spotlight now shifts to how the Oscars will adapt to remain a beacon of influence in the ever-evolving entertainment landscape.

Another looming question revolves around the inevitable ascent of streaming services.

While Oppenheimer’s triumphs undoubtedly bolstered the position of traditional movie theaters, the relentless march of streaming platforms cannot be ignored. With the past half-decade dominated by films premiering exclusively on streaming services, we anticipate a fierce battle for supremacy among industry titans like Netflix, Apple, and Hulu. Could Netflix’s burgeoning influence extend to hosting the Oscars, akin to its stewardship of the Screen Actors Guild Awards?

And then, there’s the burning curiosity surrounding Dune: Part 2.

The sequel, which only graced screens a week ago, has already set tongues wagging across the internet. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the film has shattered records both critically and at the box office. While the first installment clinched six Oscars but missed out on the coveted Best Picture accolade, speculation runs rife that Dune: Part 2 could seize the throne. Most critics laud the sequel as a significant improvement over the original, fueling expectations for a similarly triumphant run. As whispers of its potential dominance grow louder, the anticipation mounts for what could be a big night for the epic.

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