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A Night of Triumphs and Firsts: The 96th Academy Awards

The 96th annual Academy Awards, held in 2024 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, were a testament to cinematic brilliance. Broadcasted live on ABC to over 200 territories worldwide, the star-studded event was filled with glamour, surprise, and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel in his fourth appearance as master of ceremonies.

The spotlight was on 'Oppenheimer', the atomic bomb drama directed by Christopher Nolan. Leading the Oscar nominations with 13 nods, the film, produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, and Nolan, emerged as the biggest winner of the night, securing seven awards. Among these were Best Picture, Best Director for Nolan, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy's portrayal of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr. The film also won for best cinematography, original score, and film editing, affirming its cinematic prowess.

'Poor Things', starring Emma Stone, was not far behind, scooping up three craft wins for best costume design, production design, and makeup and hairstyling. Stone's performance also earned her the Best Actress award. The film, which had 11 nominations, was a strong contender.

The ceremony was also marked by historic moments. Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell became the youngest-ever two-time winners of the Best Song trophy, winning for “What Was I Made For?” from 'Barbie'. '20 Days in Mariupol' won the first-ever Oscar for Ukraine for Best Documentary Feature. The Best Animated Feature was awarded to 'The Boy and the Heron', while 'The Zone of Interest' won the Oscar for Best International Feature. The event also saw first-time Oscar nominees, including openly LGBTQ+ actors Colman Domingo, Jodie Foster, and Lily Gladstone.

Despite a brief delay due to protests over the Israel-Gaza conflict near the Dolby Theatre, and criticism towards Al Pacino for failing to name all of the 10 Best Picture nominees before announcing the winner, the ceremony was largely praised. Critics applauded the diversity of the nominees and winners, reflecting the Academy's commitment to representation and inclusivity under the mandatory Academy Aperture 2025 initiative for the Best Picture category.

In conclusion, the 96th Academy Awards were a celebration of triumphs and firsts, leaving a trail of memorable moments, stunning performances, and a new chapter in film history.