Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb drama “Oppenheimer” made Golden Globes history Sunday night, dominating the 2024 ceremony with a record-breaking 7 wins including Best Motion Picture – Drama.
“Oppenheimer” Steamrolls The Competition
Going into Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony, Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb drama “Oppenheimer” was the presumed frontrunner, with 7 nominations across major categories like Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. Still, few could have predicted it would go on to win in every single category in which it was nominated – a truly unprecedented awards season sweep.
“Oppenheimer” took home Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor in a Drama for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr., Best Director for Christopher Nolan, Best Screenplay for Nolan and Kai Bird, and Best Original Score for Ludwig Göransson. Its 7 wins set a new single-year Globes record, topping the 6 won by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1976.
In his censored acceptance speech, Best Actor winner Cillian Murphy thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing “a difficult film about a difficult subject” and dedicated the award to the “hundreds of thousands of innocent lives sacrificed” in the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
|Best Motion Picture – Drama
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
|Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”
|Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
|Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”
|Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”
|Christopher Nolan and Kai Bird, “Oppenheimer”
|Best Original Score
|Ludwig Göransson, “Oppenheimer”
|Hoyte van Hoytema, “Oppenheimer”
In the TV categories, HBO drama “Succession” won for Best Drama Series, while Bill Hader and Henry Winkler claimed acting honors for the HBO comedy “Barry”.
Oscars Landslide Next for “Oppenheimer”?
Fresh off its record-setting night at the Golden Globes, “Oppenheimer” now looks poised to dominate the upcoming Oscars as well.
According to Variety, the Globes have presaged the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner six out of the past eight years. So after its drama category sweep on Sunday, “Oppenheimer” could now be the film to beat come Oscar night this March.
The film ticks numerous boxes that historically tend to appeal to Oscar voters: a prestigious literary adaptation (based on Kai Bird’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer”), weighty subject matter (the Manhattan Project), technical mastery and large scale spectacle from a decorated auteur director (Christopher Nolan), and a lead performance from an oft-overlooked actor finally getting his due (two-time nominee Cillian Murphy).
As The Guardian notes, all signs point to “Oppenheimer” gaining “unstoppable momentum” on the road to Oscar night. That spells trouble for more comedic, crowdpleasing contenders like “Barbie” and “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, which got shut out entirely from major categories at the Globes.
Still, with over two months left until the Academy Awards ceremony on March 12th, 2024, there is time yet for shakeups in the Oscar race. But for now, all arrows point toward “Oppenheimer” ruling over Hollywood’s awards season.
Frontrunner “Barbie” Snubbed
Going into awards season, many were predicting Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” – a critical and commercial smash hit raking in over $1 billion worldwide – would dominate awards chatter.
But at Sunday night’s Globes, the saccharine Mattel adaptation shocked awards pundits by getting completely shut out of major film categories – no Best Picture nominations in the Comedy/Musical division and no acting or directing nods for Gerwig or stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Its sole Globes win came for Best Song for star Taylor Swift’s sugary end credits track “Pink Convertible.”
While Oscar prognosticators are not yet ready to fully count out “Barbie” (with 10 Critics Choice Award noms and six SAG Awards nominations still fueling its awards hopes), the Globes snub is a concerning sign of lacking momentum as we head deeper into Oscar season.
And according to Variety’s Awards Circuit experts, “it is now looking incredibly difficult for ‘Barbie’ to rebound, especially after the tidal wave of support at the Globes for a more quote-unquote ‘serious’ movie like ‘Oppenheimer’.”
Still, we’ll have to wait to for the Oscar nominations on January 24th to know for sure whether the Academy follows in step with the HFPA’s controversial Barbie snub.
Golden Globes Makes Comeback After Controversy
Beyond the actual awards handed out, Sunday’s ceremony marked a major comeback for the Globes themselves – which looked to be on the brink of irrelevance after years of scandal and controversy.
NBC and major Hollywood publicists boycotted the embattled Globes broadcast for two years running, after backlash erupted in 2021 over issues with diversity, transparency, and journalistic ethics within the opaque 87-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
But this year, the HFPA enacted major reforms to diversify its membership and overhaul its bylaws. With that, Hollywood and NBC tepidly welcomed the Globes back – albeit in a scaled-down ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hotel, rather than the Globes’ usual star-studded gala at the Beverly Wilshire.
And by most accounts, the 2024 Globes telecast was a chaotic but successful return to form – with surprise wins (like “Oppenheimer’s” sweep), shocking snubs (“Barbie”), hilarious hosting from comedian Jo Koy, and the requisite weird, wacky moments (like presenter Anna Kendrick’s teleprompter fail) that have made the freewheeling Globes ceremony infamous over eight decades running.
The question now is whether the Globes’ successful return – buoyed by the buzz over ratings juggernaut “Oppenheimer” – will be enough to fully restore its reputation in Hollywood after years rebutted as an embarrassing backwater.
We’ll know soon whether A-listers flock back to the Globes with open arms next awards season, or if revived calls for boycotts emerge after the Oppenheimer steamroller leaves town. For now though, it was a Globes for the history books – marking both the telecast’s grand return and the record-smashing coming out party for what could be Oscar’s next Best Picture winner.
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