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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

The Golden Globes

The Golden Globes going gaga for quantum physics can’t have been on many film lovers’ awards season bingo cards, but Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has a firm track record of defying expectations.

After becoming the unlikeliest summer blockbuster perhaps since the form was invented, Nolan’s atomic epic is now also the Globe board-sweeper no one quite saw coming, after making good on five of its eight nominations at the Beverly Hilton last night.

Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (both in the Globes’ drama division), Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Original Score: the film won in a third of all the categories going, while its great box-office rival-slash-ally Barbie secured just two.

In Barbie’s two biggest contests, Best Motion Picture and Best Actress (both on the musical-or-comedy side), it was pipped by Yorgos Lanthimos’s eccentric period romp Poor Things, which opens in the UK this Friday.

Maybe the Globes’ newly expanded membership, which tripled in size as part of the organisation’s recent diversity crusade, has made them more adventurous voters to boot.

If so, Nolan and his collaborators have been the main beneficiaries, with Oppenheimer now roaring to the front of the 2024 awards season pack. There is no overlap between the Globes’ band of 300 or so international show-business journalists and Bafta and the Academy’s far larger bodies of film industry professionals.

But over the last decade, their tastes have lined up reasonably often. Four of the last 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, and eight of the Bafta Best Film winners, all won the equivalent Globe first. (Admittedly, the fact that the Globes choose two best motion pictures per year bumps up their success rate a bit.) This, naturally, means an Oppenheimer streak feels a lot likelier than it did 24 hours ago.

But Nolan has an odd relationship with awards bodies: in 35 years of writing and directing, he hasn’t yet actually won a single Bafta or Oscar, perhaps because he’s proven time and again that he simply doesn’t need them in order to get even the fiddliest and most challenging passion projects made.

But then Nolan has a gift that the Academy, with their recently dwindling viewing figures, don’t: he can dependably draw a crowd. Perhaps this will be the year its members will finally swallow their pride and give him the recognition he’s long deserved.

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