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The nominees for the 96th Academy Awards were announced on January 23, and Oppenheimer is dominating the number of nominations with thirteen in total. Cillian Murphy is also included in this for Best Actor, competing with Bradley Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Colman Domingo, and Jeffrey Wright. Each of these actors is talented, and each actor is getting praised for their performances this past year. Having said that, this should be the year Cillian Murphy takes home the Oscar. It's not because this is Murphy's first shot at an Oscar, and he might never get nominated again. It's because he gave the best performance of 2023 in the movie considered by many to be the best movie of 2023.
Oppenheimer is a terrific movie with a terrific cast, and that starts with the movie's main star, Cillian Murphy, who plays J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. This is the first time Murphy led a Christopher Nolan movie after playing supporting roles in some of Nolan’s previous movies. Murphy was also known for playing Tommy Shelby in the British series Peaky Binders, getting praise for his performance. Murphy’s portrayal of Oppenheimer is the best performance of his career. In Oppenheimer, Murphy leads a big cast also consisting of Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, and others. Despite starring with names more popular and well-known than him, it’s Cillian Murphy who delivers the best performance in the best movie of the year.
Cillian Murphy portrays J. Robert Oppenheimer so well, from how he talks, acts, and looks. He interacts with a lot of characters throughout the movie and outshines the actors playing those characters in every scene, whether it’s scenes with Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, or others. There is more to Oppenheimer than just creating the atomic bomb, and Murphy understands that with his scenes before and after creating the bomb. He had controversial political beliefs and ties to certain individuals involved in communism that caused some trouble for him after World War II.
Murphy portrays Oppenheimer earlier in his life while he was doing his studies and later teaching. Oppenheimer starts as an anxious college student who changes colleges and his studies, to a more outgoing professor. This helps set up a perfect character arc and development for Oppenheimer that Cillian Murphy pulls off. As a professor, Oppenheimer seems to flirt with communism. We then see Oppenheimer being recruited to create the atomic bomb to stop Nazi Germany and how he works with his team, and his banter with Matt Damon’s character, Gen. Leslie Groves. Once the target shifts to Japan and the bomb is dropped in Japan, we see Murphy capture the horror and guilt Oppenheimer had so well. One scene that showed this perfectly was when Oppenheimer was talking to a crowd of people after the bomb dropped and realized what he had done.
The best actors deliver the strongest performances and that’s what Cillian Murphy did in this movie as J. Robert Oppenheimer. He understood the subject matter was more than just a man creating a bomb. He was a man that had a rough path to get to where he was. Oppenheimer was a man who, despite being brilliant, made mistakes, including his complicated relationship with communist Jean Tatlock, played by Florence Pugh. His ties to the Communist Party were also used against him and brought tough questioning to him. Oppenheimer lost his security clearance despite being proven loyal to the United States. It took years for Oppenheimer to get the respect that he deserved. Murphy understood these aspects of Oppenheimer and portrayed them all perfectly. Every actor nominated gave great performances, but Murphy's was the most powerful, and that's why he deserves the Oscar for Best Actor this year.
Do you think Cillian Murphy deserves Best Actor this year at the Oscars? If not, who should win? Let us know in the comments below.