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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lizzie Edmonds

Baftas 2024: Oppenheimer sweeps the board taking home seven awards

Oppenheimer swept the board at the 2024 Baftas - taking home seven awards including best film and best director. 

Irish star Cillian Murphy also won best actor in what was a highly successful night for the Christopher Nolan epic biopic about J Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist described as the father of the atomic bomb.

In total, the movie scored seven awards at the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday night.

The British filmmaker won his first Baftas following previous nominations for Inception and Dunkirk – and joked that his brother Jonathan, the co-creator of TV series Westworld, “beat him up here” by being in a chorus of a production 40 years ago.

He paid tribute to his star Murphy and added to those who backed the film: “Thank you for taking on something dark.”

Cillian Murphy (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

The director also acknowledged the efforts of nuclear disarmament organisations to bring peace.

Murphy was named best actor for the titular role and told Nolan: “Thank for always pushing me and demanding excellence because that is what you deliver time and time again.”

He said Oppenheimer was a “colossally knotty character”, adding: “We have a space to debate and interrogate and investigate that complexity and it’s a privilege to be a part of this community with you all.”

Robert Downey Jr won the best supporting actor prize for his role as Lewis Strauss, head of the Atomic Energy Commission and said of Nolan: “Recently that dude suggested I attempt an understated approach as a last ditch effort to resurrect my dwindling credibility.”

He said he owes the award to Nolan, producer Emma Thomas and Murphy, as well as “British influence”.

Robert Downey Jr (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

Oppenheimer also won the Baftas for best cinematography, score and editing

Meanwhile, the leading actress Bafta was won by Emma Stone for Poor Things.

American actress Stone said she was “in awe” of all of the team behind the surreal comedy, where she plays Bella Baxter – a woman who is reanimated and implanted with the brain of a baby.

She paid tribute to the writers for coming up with the line “I must go punch that baby” in a memorable dinner scene, and also hailed director Yorgos Lanthimos for “our friendship and the gift of Bella”.

Also thanking her mother, Stone said: “She kind of made me believe this crazy idea that I can do something like this.”

Stone also thanked her British dialect coach for “not laughing” when she said water in an American accent.

Poor Things won five prizes in total, including costume design, make up and hair, production design and visual effects.

Samantha Morton (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

Da’Vine Joy Randolph won best supporting actress for The Holdovers.

The American, who plays Mary Lamb, the head of the kitchen at a private school whose son has died during the Vietnam War, paid tribute to her co-star Paul Giamatti.

Randolph said she “cries every time” she says his name, as she became emotional.

“I’m proud to call you a friend and thank you for never wavering,” she added.

She also hailed her character Mary, who would “never would have got a chance to wear a beautiful gown”, before adding it was a “responsibility I don’t take lightly”.

The Bafta rising star award - the only award picked by the public - was won by Mia Mckenna-Bruce following a public vote.

The star of coming-of-age film How To Have Sex appeared emotional on stage as she thanked her family and her “beautiful baby boy”.

The 26-year-old joked that she hopes her little sisters, who do not think “I’m cool”, will change their mind after her win.

Mia McKenna-Bruce (REUTERS)

The Bafta Fellowship, the highest honour of the British film academy, was presented to actress Samantha Morton, who was taken into care as a baby and spent time in and out of care and foster homes growing up.

She was visibly emotional as she collected her prize, which she dedicated to children in care, adding: “Film changed my life, it transformed me and it led me here today.”

Hannah Waddingham performed a pared down version of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time in the in memoriam segment of the Baftas, which featured tributes to stars including Jane Birkin, Glynis Johns, Carl Weathers, Julian Sands, Tom Wilkinson and Tina Turner.

Also featured were Harry Belafonte, Alan Arkin and Sir Michael Gambon.

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