Oscars 2024: Cillian Murphy’s best actor nomination leads a strong showing for Irish film

Ireland has again scored strongly in the Oscar nominations. Cillian Murphy is mentioned in the best actor race – and feels like favourite – for his turn as father of the atomic bomb in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Poor Things, produced by Dublin’s Element Pictures, and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, scored a huge 11 nominations. Only Oppenheimer, with 13, was more successful. That put Oppenheimer just one behind the nomination record, jointly held by La La Land, Titanic and All About Eve.

Robbie Ryan, one of Ireland’s most celebrated film professionals, gets a nomination in best cinematography for the Lanthimos film. “Delighre and excited. Very very happy for all the team behind Poor Things:)):” the Dubliner told The Irish Times.

Ed Guiney – his name pronounced correctly during the nominations live broadcast after a “Gweeney” at the Golden Globes) and Andrew Lowe, co-founders of Element, were, alongside Lanthimos and Emma Stone, among the nominated producers for Poor Things.

“It’s an incredible day out,” Guiney said. “Eleven nominations was, honestly, more than we ever thought we’d get when we started this journey. We are particularly delighted that Yorgos landed a nomination in best director. Because it’s a very, very tough category.”

Poor Things is now the most nominated Irish-produced film, beating Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which received nine nominations last year.

There was some disappointment for Irish actors. Andrew Scott seemed to have a decent chance – like Paul Mescal last year – of sneaking into best actor. His performance in Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers has been much fancied throughout awards season. But, when Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid announced that list on Tuesday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, his name was not among the number.

Paul Giamatti, for The Holdovers; Bradley Cooper, for Maestro; Jeffrey Wright, for American Fiction, and Colman Domingo, will compete against Murphy in the best actor race. Barry Keoghan was also seen as having an outside chance in the category for Emerald Fennell’s buzzy Saltburn. Neither that film nor All of Us Strangers, after both scored well at Bafta, picked up a single nomination from their American counterparts.

Oscars 2024 nominations as they happened: best actor frontrunner Cillian Murphy secures first nomination ]

Oscars 2024: full list of nominations ]

Murphy now stands an excellent chance of becoming the first person born in Ireland to win the best actor Oscar (though Daniel Day-Lewis, born in London, won two of this three as a proud Irish citizen). Initially it seemed as if his main competition was Cooper, but Giamatti, a popular character actor who is felt “overdue”, has come up on the inside rail after victory at the Critics Choice Awards. Eyes now turn to the Screen Actors Guild Awards on February 24th. If Giamatti wins there, we have a real race on our hands.

Best actress now looks like a three-way contest. Lily Gladstone was deemed a dead cert for Killers of the Flower Moon, but, after missing out on a Bafta nomination, the Native American actor, though safely mentioned here, has lost a tiny bit of steam. Emma Stone, for Poor Things, and Sandra Hüller, for Anatomy of a Fall, now look like decent bets. That list is completed by Annette Bening for Nyad and Carey Mulligan for Maestro.

Elsewhere there were few enormous surprises, but the team behind Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, highest grossing film of 2023, will be sad to lag five nominations behind their great rivals in the Barbenheimer Wars. It will particularly smart that Gerwig didn’t make it into best director and Margot Robbie, Barbie herself, failed in best actress. The academy will have enjoyed a collective sigh of relief on seeing Justine Triet make it into best director for the French drama Anatomy of A Fall. They were thus spared the embarrassment of no women directors in the pack.

The success of Anatomy of a Fall – five nominations including best picture – again emphasised the French selection committee’s eccentricity in not putting it forward for best international picture. The Taste of Things, the French pick, is not even among the nominees in that category.

The 10 films selected for best picture will have surprised nobody who was paying attention. The list is identical to the Producers Guild of America’s 10 finalists for the Darryl F Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer. The 10 is Bafta’s best picture longlist with All of Us Strangers (a British film) swapped for Cord Jefferson’s satirical American Fiction.

However, there are some noteworthy aspects. For the first time three films by women are up for that prize: Barbie, Anatomy of a Fall and Celine Song’s Past Lives. Three of the list are largely in a language other than English: Anatomy of a Fall, Past Lives and Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest. The Oscars feel less stuffy than they once were.

As is customary, the awards were announced at the break of dawn in Los Angeles to catch the morning news shows on the east coast. Jimmy Kimmel will host the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre on March 10th.



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