Robert Downey Jr. and Christopher Nolan

Robert Downey Jr. has claimed that the runaway success of Oppenheimer has become “a terrible tragedy” for its introverted director Christopher Nolan.

Downey made the comments while presenting Nolan with the inaugural Trailblazer Award at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in Utah, an honour which recognises the director’s contributions to independent filmmaking.

“Confidentially, he needs his spirits lifted,” Downey joked. “He’s a bit blue because a terrible tragedy has befallen him. I don’t mean to bring this up, and I know it’s very personal: He has become recognizable on the street. He recoils as though from a hot flame from this new and most unwelcome reality.”

In accepting the award, Nolan acknowledged the boost that his breakthrough film Memento received from its Sundance screening in 2000. “It’s two weeks or so in which independent filmmaking doesn’t just mean a business model,” he said. “It means an aspiration for filmmakers. It means that as directors and writers and actors, you’re treated as artists. You are given pride of authorship in what you’ve done.”

Oppenheimer dominated this week’s BAFTA nominations, with a massive 13 nods, ahead of Saltburn and Barbie on five each.

The film is swooping the awards season, also picking up more prizes at the Critics Choice Awards last week, although on that occasion Cillian Murphy lost out in the Best Actor category to Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers.

Murphy did, however, win the equivalent award at this month’s Golden Globes. In his acceptance speech, which was censored on television for profanity, he said: “I’m the luckiest fecking man alive.”

In December, it was reported that Oppenheimer would be released in Japanese cinemas, despite public criticism surrounding the sensitive subject matter of the film.

“Bitters End will release Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in Japan in 2024. The decision was made following months of thoughtful dialogue associated with the subject matter and acknowledging the particular sensitivity for us Japanese,” a distributor announced.

“After screening the film, we feel Christopher Nolan has created a singular cinematic experience that transcends traditional storytelling and must be seen on the big screen. We invite the audience to watch the film with their own eyes when it comes to Japan.”

The post Robert Downey Jr. says ‘Oppenheimer’ success has been “terrible” for introvert Christopher Nolan appeared first on NME.


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