'Oppenheimer' Poised to Shatter BAFTAs Longstanding Record

Christopher Nolan's latest masterpiece vies for BAFTA glory

by Zain ul Abedin
'Oppenheimer' Poised to Shatter BAFTAs Longstanding Record
© Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

In an unprecedented feat, Christopher Nolan's biopic "Oppenheimer," starring Cillian Murphy, is on the cusp of making history at the British Academy Film Awards (the BAFTAs) this Sunday. The film, a detailed portrayal of J.

Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, has garnered a staggering 13 nominations, including Best Film. A win in 10 or more categories would shatter a 53-year-old record at the prestigious British awards ceremony.

In a remarkable comparison, the record currently held since 1971 is by the iconic Western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which clinched nine BAFTAs, a feat not yet surpassed. Interestingly, only one of its nominations fell short of winning.

Nolan, alongside his wife and co-producer Emma Thomas, shared on the podcast "Countdown to the BAFTAs" his views on the film industry. He emphasized the success of "Oppenheimer," a three-hour, R-rated movie delving into quantum physics, which astonishingly grossed a billion dollars.

This achievement, Nolan believes, signals a market craving for innovative and unconventional storytelling.

BAFTA's Frontrunner: 'Oppenheimer'

"Oppenheimer" leads the charge at the 2024 BAFTAs, closely followed by Yorgos Lanthimos' "Poor Things," with 11 nominations.

Competitors like Martin Scorsese’s "Killers of the Flower Moon" and Jonathan Glazer’s "The Zone of Interest," each with nine nominations, are positioned to possibly tie but not exceed the historic record. Interestingly, Greta Gerwig's "Barbie," which overshadowed "Oppenheimer" at the box office during their simultaneous release last summer, has secured five nominations, notably missing out on the Best Film category.

The term "Barbenheimer" was coined to reflect this unique box office clash. The BAFTA event, hosted by David Tennant, will be held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, showcasing a constellation of stars from 2023's most acclaimed films.

"Oppenheimer" has already enjoyed a triumphant award season, securing accolades at the Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammys, and leading the pack with the most nominations at the upcoming Oscars in March. In a turn of events, "Barbie" has received Oscar nods in several categories, including Best Picture.

However, the omission of Greta Gerwig for directing and Margot Robbie for best actress in a leading role has sparked criticism, notably from co-star Ryan Gosling, a nominee for best-supporting actor. This year's BAFTAs and Oscars are poised to be landmark events in cinema history, with "Oppenheimer" potentially rewriting the record books.

Christopher Nolan