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Oppenheimer dominates at the Baftas – as Christopher Nolan takes home first-ever prize

‘Poor Things’ star Emma Stone and Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer won this year’s big acting gongs

Annabel Nugent
Monday 19 February 2024 04:28 GMT
Baftas 2024: Watch this year's winners in full

It was an awards show of few surprises this year as heavily-tipped films such as Oppenheimer and Poor Things dominated the top categories at the 2024 Baftas.

Christopher Nolan’s epic atomic bomb picture Oppenhimer led the night with nominations in 13 categories – of which the film won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director.

See the full list of winners here...

The film’s stars Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr also triumphed in the Best Leading Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories respectively. Murphy beat out The Holdovers star Paul Giamatti in what was considered a very tight race between the two actors.

It is Nolan’s first ever Bafta win despite having been previously nominated for eight awards. Accepting the prize on stage, Nolan, 54, thanked those who have “fought long and hard to reduce the number of nuclear weapons” in the world.

‘Oppenheimer’ director Christopher Nolan (AP)
Cillian Murphy beat out Paul Giamatti in the Best Leading Actor category for his performance in ‘Oppenheimer’ (AP)

It came as a surprise to no one when Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos’s spectacular feast for the eyes, was feted with the award for Best Production – in its first of five wins that night.

Poor Things star Emma Stone took home Best Actress for her performance as Bella, an adult woman implanted with a child’s brain.

In her acceptance speech, Stone, 35, thanked her mother, telling the crowd: “She’s the best person in the world. Without her, none of this would exist, including my life. So thank you, mum!”

Emma Stone takes home the prize for Best Actress thanks to ‘Poor Things’ (AP)

The 77th British academy film awards took place at Royal Festival Hall in London on Sunday night, with Hollywood stars including Margot Robbie, Robert Downey Jr and Ryan Gosling in attendance.

Prince William was also present, spotted warmly embracing last year’s Bafta Leading Actress winner Cate Blanchett. Kate Middleton missed the occasion due to an abdominal surgery she underwent in January, from which she is still recovering.

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Following on from Richard E Grant last year, David Tennant, 52, took on hosting duties. The Doctor Who star charmed his way through the ceremony with a couple jokes in a mostly dry opening monologue.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph won Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘The Holdovers’ (Getty Images)

Alexander Payne’s comedy-drama film, The Holdovers, about a curmudgeonly teacher at a New England boarding school, also fared relatively well on the night, taking home two of its seven nominations.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, 37, received a standing ovation after winning Best Supporting Actress for her part in the role, beating out Emily Blunt, Danielle Brooks, Claire Foy, Sandra Huller, and Rosamund Pike in the competitive category.

Collecting the award from presenter Chiwetel Ejiofor, Randolph appeared overwhelmed in the moment, telling him: “You are so handsome!” before she went on to thank her co-star Giamatti, who was spotted in the crowd holding back tears.

Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest was awarded three prizes: Best Sound, Outstanding British Film, and Best Film Not in the English language.

Although it was shot entirely in Poland and with a German cast, the harrowing drama, about a Nazi commandant building a home next to Auschwitz, was made by Film4 and with a British production team.

Prince William and Cate Blanchett seated at the 2024 Baftas (Getty)

Accepting the prize, the film’s producer James Wilson said: “Walls aren’t new from before or since the Holocaust and it seems stark right now that we should care about innocent people being killed in Gaza or Yemen or Mariupol or Israel.” He added: “Thank your for recognising a film that asks us to think in those spaces.”

Earlier on the red carpet, Ken Loach, director of the refugee film The Old Oak, stood next to a sign reading “Gaza: Stop the Massacre” held by the film’s writer Paul Laverty.

Ken Loach, centre, stands next to a sign reading ‘Gaza: Stop the Massacre’ on the red carpet (Getty Images)

Elsewhere during the evening, 20 Days in Mariupol won the award for Best Documentary. In it, Ukrainian photojournalist Mstyslav Chernov chronicles life inside the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“This is not about us – this is about Ukraine, about the people of Mariupol,” said Chernov. “ I want to keep focus on that. The day before yesterday another Ukrainian city has fallen – Russia has occupied it, and many cities before that, so the story of Mariupol is a symbol of everything that happened, and a symbol of struggle and a symbol of faith. Thank you for empowering our voice. Let’s just keep fighting.”

Mstyslav Chernov gave an emotional speech accepting Best Documentary for ‘20 Days in Mariupol’ (AFP)

It was at last year’s Bafta that Navalny, which revolved around the late Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, won the same prize.

Other nominees such as Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster Barbie, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, Celine Song’s Past Lives, and Bradley Cooper’s Maestro went home empty-handed.

Mia McKenna-Bruce wins Rising Star award for ‘How to Have Sex’ (Invision)

Others winners of the night include former GB volleyball player Savanah Leaf, who took home Best Debut for her film Earth Mama, about a pregnant single mother fighting to reconnect with her family.

Meanwhile, Mia McKenna-Bruce, 26, beat the likes of Jacob Elordi and Ayo Edebiri to win the EE Bafta Rising Star award for her performance as a teenage girl on a rites-of-passage Greek holiday with friends in Molly Manning Walker’s debut film How to Have Sex.

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