Cillian Murphy Wins Best Actor in a Drama for ‘Oppenheimer’

Cillian Murphy has won Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes for “Oppenheimer.” Read the full Golden Globes winners list here.

The award boosts the 47-year-old Irish actor’s momentum in the Oscar race considerably, and helps to power Christopher Nolan’s film to official juggernaut status. IndieWire’s Awards Editor, Film and TV, Marcus Jones had already listed him as a frontrunner for Best Actor at the Academy Awards alongside Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Colman Domingo (“Rustin”), and Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”).

This was not the first time Murphy had been nominated for a Golden Globe, however. He was previously nominated as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for “Breakfast on Pluto” in 2006.

Murphy has been a longtime collaborator of director Nolan, appearing in “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Dunkirk.” But “Oppenheimer,” which proved to be the third most successful film at the worldwide box office in 2023 with a $950 million gross (behind “Barbie” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”), was the first time he had had a starring role in a Nolan film.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 11: Christopher Nolan attends the "Oppenheimer" premiere at Cinema Le Grand Rex on July 11, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The film placed at number two on IndieWire’s critics survey of the 50 best movies of 2023, just behind “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

In his review of the “Oppenheimer” from July 2023, David Ehrlich wrote, “At first, I thought that if J. Robert Oppenheimer didn’t exist, Christopher Nolan would probably have been compelled to invent him. The exalted British filmmaker has long been fixated upon stories of haunted and potentially self-destructive men who sift through the source code of space-time in a desperate bid to understand the meaning of their own actions, and so the “father of the atomic bomb” — a theoretical physicist whose obsession with a twilight world hidden inside our own led to the birth of the modern age’s most biblical horrors — would seem to represent an uncannily perfect subject for the “Tenet” director’s next epic. And he is. In fact, Oppenheimer is so perversely well-suited to the Nolan treatment that I soon began to realize I had things backwards: Christopher Nolan only exists because men like J. Robert Oppenheimer invented him first.”

The 81st Golden Globe Awards were held Sunday, January 8 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Dick Clark Productions, which owns and produces the Golden Globes, is a Penske Media company. PMC is also IndieWire’s parent company.

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