Cillian Murphy celebrates first-ever Oscar nomination in Cork

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Cork-born actor Cillian Murphy received the news of his first-ever Oscar nomination for the main role in “Oppenheimer” on Tuesday in his hometown.

“It was already arranged for me. We’ve had a few days off, and I’ve been at home, which has been very, very pleasant. I’m actually in my parents’ house in Cork city. I was with my parents and my wife today. So that was really nice,” Murphy told Variety.

Murphy jokingly expressed his relief at not having to wake up early for the announcement given that the 2024 Oscar nominations were revealed early in the morning in the US.

He added that they celebrated the nomination with some homemade treats. “We had a cup of tea and a slice of cake. It was quite nice. My mom made a sponge cake. It was very tasty,” said the actor.

Murphy also expressed his gratitude and acknowledged the great impact of being part of a film that unexpectedly received well by global audiences.

“I feel really privileged and I feel really lucky to be in a film that’s connected with people in a way that it has critically and commercially. To be in a film that people have seen three and four and five times and they come up to you and tell you that,” said Murphy in a phone interview with US tabloid Deadline.

Murphy — at 48 years old and with 28 years of experience in the industry — said he understood the significance of the awards for actors.

“You know, it’s been a long time in the business. I think as a youngster it just didn’t seem a possibility anything like this,” said Murphy.

Murphy will compete with Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Colman Domingo (Rustin), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), and Jeffery Wright (American Fiction) for the Best Actor trophy.

Murphy’s brilliance in ‘Oppenheimer’

In “Oppenheimer,” Murphy played the titular character, J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist regarded as the father of the atomic bomb. The actor described Oppenheimer as a complex and contradictory individual and a man who changed the 20th century.

In preparation for the role, Murphy embarked on a rigorous six-month journey, combining internal and external approaches. He extensively studied Oppenheimer by reading and analysing archival footage. Murphy candidly shared his method, including walking around his Dublin basement, engaging in self-dialogue and persistent practice.

Murphy’s performance as Oppenheimer was highly praised by the movie director, Christopher Nolan. Following the announcement of Oscar nominations on Tuesday morning, Nolan recalled the moment when he witnessed Murphy’s transformation into the enigmatic Oppenheimer for the first time.

“It was really in the hair and makeup tests, which we shoot on Imax and in black-and-white,” Nolan told Variety.

“You start to see the actor bringing an icon to life, putting the hat on, the cigarette in the corner of his mouth. You’re starting to see how he moves. It’s a thrilling moment,” said Nolan.

The British director described Murphy’s portrayal as akin to Heath Ledger’s transformation into the Joker in his previous film, “The Dark Night.”

“Oppenheimer” successfully garnered an impressive total of 13 nominations, establishing itself as the frontrunner, closely trailed by “Poor Things” with 11 nominations.

Fellow cast members in “Oppenheimer”, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr. also received Oscar nominations in the supporting categories. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan secured a nomination for Best Director, and the film itself was nominated in the Best Picture category.

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