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Critics Choice Awards: Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer dominates as Barbie wins best comedy

(l-r) David Krumholtz, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Alden Ehrenreich, and Cillian Murphy accept the award for best ensemble for Oppenheimer (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
(l-r) David Krumholtz, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Alden Ehrenreich, and Cillian Murphy accept the award for best ensemble for Oppenheimer (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Oppenheimer has topped the Critics Choice Awards taking home eight gongs.

The Christopher Nolan epic scored the London-born filmmaker a win for best director, alongside best picture and supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr, while star Cillian Murphy was snubbed in the best actor category which went to The Holdovers star Paul Giamatti.

The 29th ceremony also saw success for Greta Gerwig’s box office hit Barbie, which picked up six awards including best comedy, best original screenplay and best original song for British star Mark Ronson’s I’m Just Ken – sung by Ryan Gosling.

While the TV categories saw Succession, Beef and The Bear dominate in the major awards.

Taking to the stage to collect his gong for best director, Nolan said: “To mangle a quote from Sir Isaac Newton, ‘If I appear tall it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants’ – the particular giants I am standing on is Kai (Bird) and Marty (Sherwin) who wrote the incredible book American Prometheus and spent 25 years doing it.

“I thank you Kai for trusting me with your work and Marty, unfortunately he left us before I was able to show him the final script, but Kai your constant reassurances once you saw the film that he would have approved meant the world to me.”

Oppenheimer star Emily Blunt also thanked Nolan for his “ability to connect with actors” as she collected the award for best ensemble on behalf of the cast.

“I love that we’re calling this an ensemble and we’re very grateful, but most of us were part-timers that gathered around this completely riveting fire of Cillian Murphy. Truly,” she said.

While Downey Jr read his own worst reviews from critics as he accepted the award for best supporting actor.

“I was thinking this morning, I just love critics … you know, they’ve given me such beautiful feedback, really just so many great moments, and some of it is so poetic. I just want to share some of their thoughts with you over the year.

“The first one is kind of like Haiku: ‘Sloppy, messy and lazy’. The next one is more metaphoric: ‘Like Pee-Wee Herman emerging from a coma’. This was from a Brit: ‘A puzzling waste of talent’. And lastly, and this one lingered: ‘Amusing as a bed-locked fart’.”

He went on to thank his “Oppen-homies” who he worked alongside on the film, joking: “Every day of filming was like having my ego’s ass handed to me at the door, and I think it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

However, Cord Jefferson trumped Nolan’s Oppenheimer in the best adapted screenplay category for his directorial debut American Fiction based on 2001 novel titled Erasure by Percival Everett.

A number of awards, including best comedy for Barbie, were not televised, however Critics Choice presenter Chelsea Handler encouraged Gerwig and Robbie to take to the stage to collect their award – which was not part of the scheduled show.

Greta Gerwig (with Margot Robbie) accepting the Best Director Award for Barbie (Getty Images  for Critics Choice)
Greta Gerwig (with Margot Robbie) accepting the Best Director Award for Barbie (Getty Images for Critics Choice)

Robbie said: “Thank you Chelsea, I love you so much. You know when everyone says ‘this is so unexpected’ – this was actually unexpected. This was not a part of the show, we are very grateful none the less.”

British music star Ronson said the award for best original song was as much actor Gosling’s who “made the world fall in love with this song”.

Speaking to Gerwig, he said: “The fact that you carved out 11 minutes for this prog-rock power ballad dream ballet shred fest so the boys could cry and hold hands a little too, we’re really forever in your debt for that.”

The ceremony also saw best supporting actress go to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for The Holdovers, while Emma Stone won best actress for Poor Things.

She said: “Playing Bella was one of the greatest joys in my life and I got to unlearn a lot of things in playing her.”

“Unlearn parts of shame and societal stuff that gets put on us. I’m very grateful to the critics for this… but I’m just learning not to care what you think,” Stone joked.

Giamatti, who was named best actor for his role in The Holdovers, said he was thinking about his father.

“I want to think about my father tonight who never saw me act professionally, if that’s what I do is professional acting, I’m not so sure,” he said.

“He was a literary critic and so you couldn’t get away with anything but good work with him, so this will make him really happy and that makes me really happy so thank you.”

Robert Downey Jr accepting his award (REUTERS)
Robert Downey Jr accepting his award (REUTERS)

In the TV categories, Ali Wong and Steven Yeun from Netflix series Beef won best actress and actor in a limited series, while best supporting actress went to Maria Bello and the show also won the award for best limited series.

While best actor and actress in a drama series went to Succession’s Kieran Culkin and Sarah Snook respectively, as well as the show winning best drama series.

The Bear also had a good showing at the awards ceremony, being named best comedy series alongside best actor and actress in a comedy series for Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, as well as best supporting actor for Ebon Moss-Bachrach.

Elsewhere, Meryl Streep was named best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in Only Murders In The Building and Elizabeth Debicki won best supporting actress in a drama series for her role as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown.

Praising co-star Khalid Abdalla, who played Dodi Fayed, she added: “If I did anything good in this show, you are half of it, you are a dear friend.”