‘Sometimes you catch a wave’

New York – Christopher Nolan was still sleeping when his film “Oppenheimer” led the 13th Academy Awards nominations on Tuesday. Nolan’s wife and producing partner Emma Thomas woke him up after receiving a flurry of congratulatory messages on his phone.

“Don’t take it as a condemnation,” Nolan told The Associated Press, laughing. “We didn’t want to spoil anything. Watching the nominations was more than we could bear, so we spent a restless night and fell asleep.”

Nolan and Thomas had no particular reason to be concerned. “Oppenheimer,” J. Nolan’s sprawling American saga of Walter Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb has more or less been the Oscar frontrunner since its acclaimed debut in late July. On Tuesday, it earned nominations for its achievement, including acting awards for Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt.

“Oppenheimer” was nominated for Nolan’s direction and adapted screenplay; For cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema; Editing by Jennifer Lamm; costume design by Ellen Mirojnik; production design by Ruth de Jong and Claire Kaufman; Makeup and hairstyling by Luisa Abel; Best sound; and Ludwig Goransson’s score. It is one nomination away from breaking the record for best Oscar nominations ever.

“It’s amazing,” said Thomas, who spoke to her husband in an interview hours after the nominations were announced. “Then we got into the routine of getting a 16-year-old out of bed, but with a spring in our step.”

Although Nolan is regarded as the best big-canvas auteur of his era, he has never won an Academy Award – nor have any of his films won Best Picture. He had been nominated once before for best director for “Dunkirk.” But Nolan’s absence from film’s biggest stage has often been more notable than the respect his films have garnered. After his “The Dark Knight” was overlooked for Best Picture in 2009, the Academy expanded the category to five films.

But this year’s Oscars may mark the coronation of Nolan, 53, and the three-hour opus that broke records — and Hollywood conventional logic — by grossing nearly $1 billion worldwide. On Tuesday, he and Thomas reflected on the film’s Oscar success. ,

AP: Do you see the success of “Oppenheimer” as a statement to the industry — which typically funnels big budgets only to sequels and remakes — about what’s possible for an original film made with scale? ?

Nolan: I grew up loving Hollywood movies and believing that studio filmmaking can do anything. Seeing the audience reaction this summer was incredibly thrilling and receiving such recognition from the Academy, I don’t really know what to say. It certainly reaffirms our belief in what studio filmmaking can be.

AP: Have you considered why “Oppenheimer” is so popular?

Nolan: Analyzing the zeitgeist or analyzing success is always a difficult thing. We were really interested and especially excited to see the youth react to a piece of history. I keep coming back to the unique nature of the story. I think it’s one of the great American stories. There is much important and dramatic about our history in it. It gives the audience a lot to connect with, when you get a good group of actors like us and an incredible cast, you can make it real and emotionally accessible. That’s as far as I can analyze its success. Plus, sometimes you catch a wave and it’s a wonderful and unique thing.

Thomas: A lot of times you think of history as the ancient past, and it’s not very relevant to today. But I think what’s unique about Oppenheimer’s story is that what the film deals with also has direct relevance to this time. And so I think that’s something that really resonated with the audience.

Nolan: Yeah, that’s a good point. When I first started the project, one of my kids said to me about nuclear weapons, people my age don’t really worry about it that much. This happened a few years ago. With everything going on in the world, there has been a lot of change. We came right at a time when people were starting to worry about this again, and worry about the fate of the world. Oppenheimer’s story is very relevant to this – not just the threat of nuclear weapons, but the growing threat of AI and what it could do to our world.

AP: Although your films have often been praised by the Academy, none of you have won an Oscar. Does anything feel different this year?

Nolan: I think the enormity of what we recognized when we woke up this morning is something we’ve never experienced before, and that’s really thrilling to us. It’s a very unique feeling to see the Academy recognizing all the different aspects of a film, from the performances to the technical achievements of the film. I mean, I grew up watching the Academy Awards. This is the pinnacle of recognition from your peers.

AP: Do you see “Oppenheimer” as the culmination of your collaboration?

Thomas: It definitely feels like a movie that was made with all the things we’ve learned together over the years. It all came together in this film. But I hope it won’t be the climax. I’m hoping we get a chance to make another one. (laughs) We’re at the midpoint!

Nolan: We’re just getting started! With every film, you try to build on what you’ve learned from the previous films.

AP: Any big plans to celebrate tonight?

Thomas: Well, we’ll probably have dinner with our kids. We’ve got one that’s going back to college. We will have a family celebration, which seems absolutely appropriate considering the nature of our film and the way we work.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

(Tags to translate) Ludwig Goransson (T) Emily Blunt (T) Entertainment (T) Christopher Nolan (T) Emma Thomas (T) US News (T) Robert Downey Jr. (T) Cillian Murphy

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