Christopher Nolan: Top director’s award for Oppenheimer means everything to me

Christopher Nolan has received a prestigious directing award for his epic historical film Oppenheimer.

The London-born director was honoured with the prize for outstanding directorial achievement in theatrical feature film at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards on Saturday night.

The 53-year-old is already a contender for a best directing Oscar for his story covering the rise and fall of the father of the atomic bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy.

76th DGA Awards
Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan, centre, with DGA awards presenters Daniel Kwan, left, and Daniel Scheinert (Chris Pizzello/AP)

“The idea that my peers would think I deserve this means everything to me. The idea that my kids would think that I deserve this means everything.”

Nolan was previously nominated for the prize for Dunkirk in 2017, Inception in 2010, The Dark Knight in 2008 and Memento in 2001.

Murphy, who has also been in Nolan’s superhero movie Batman Begins, science fiction film Inception and war epic Dunkirk, paid tribute to their partnership.

The 47-year-old actor, who is an Oscar nominee for Oppenheimer, which has received 13 Academy Award nods, said working on the film was like “a masterclass” in how movies should be made and Nolan took audiences on “an unexpected journey to leave us in darkness and awe”.

He added: “It’s the same each time: the scripts are always truly extraordinary, the roles are always challenging and distinctive, they are intelligent and consequential and, always, they are events.”

76th DGA Awards
Ryan Gosling, left, with Barbie director Greta Gerwig (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The 40-year-old American director, who wrote the biggest blockbuster of last year with her husband, Noah Baumbach, said she was “in the company of my heroes” as she hailed Nolan and Martin Scorsese, who was also given a nod for Killers Of The Flower Moon, about Native Americans resisting an oil company.

Gerwig added: “I couldn’t begin to tell you how every moment of their film-making has freed me from cuts that have everything to do with energy and nothing to do with following the pools to the heartbreak of the strivers in their pictures to the way they approach fate with all your films.”

Elsewhere, Past Lives director Celine Song was given the award for outstanding directorial achievement in a first-time theatrical feature film for her movie that chronicled how two South Korean childhood friends rekindle their affections in New York.

Also honoured was Peter Hoar for dystopian zombie series The Last Of Us, Christopher Storer for restaurant drama The Bear, and Sarah Adina Smith for 1960s drama Lessons In Chemistry, which stars Brie Larson.

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