Somehow, in a career that’s produced some of the most acclaimed and popular films of the 21st century, Christopher Nolan has never won an Oscar. While his films have picked up stray prizes here or there, Nolan himself has gone unrecognized by the Academy Awards until now.

2024 was finally Nolan’s moment. The man behind such modern classics as MementoThe PrestigeThe Dark KnightInception, and more took home the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on the blockbuster biopic Oppenheimer. Nolan prevailed in the face of major competition, beating out Anatomy of a Fall’s Justine Triet, Killers of the Flower Moon’s Martin ScorsesePoor Things’ Yorgos Lanthimos, and The Zone of Interest’s Jonathan Glazer.


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Nolan had been nominated for Oscars on five previous occasions. His first nomination came way back in 2002, when he was a contender for Best Original Screenplay for Memento. It’s absurd to think he didn’t win that award, but he didn’t; Gosford Park won the Original Screenplay award for 2001. He wouldn’t score another nomination for almost a decade, until Inception was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Again, Nolan lost — to The King’s Speech in both categories.

In 2018, Nolan was nominated again, this time for Best Picture and Best Director for his war movie Dunkirk. He lost those awards to The Shape of Water and Guillermo del Toro, respectively. But 2024 was finally Nolan’s year.

Oppenheimer is now available to stream on Peacock.

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