As we’ve mentioned a few times now in today’s posts, the deadline for the producers and the actors to reach a new deal is tonight. And if that doesn’t happen, the actors have already decided to join the writers on strike. Sarah just wrote in the previous post about Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool that a strike means no filming and no promoting. So it’s possible that last night’s Oppenheimer premiere in Paris will be the only red carpet for this film. Barbie’s European premiere will be in London tonight.
Oppenheimer isn’t like Barbie in terms of red carpet visuals, obviously. But like Barbie there’s a high-profile ensemble cast. That’s also why it’s kinda fun that they’re going head-to-head at the box office. Because it’s kinda like Avengers Civil War with these two movies. For every A-lister in Barbie, Oppenheimer has a corresponding star. I saw Oppenheimer last week and it felt like every five minutes there was another Oscar winner up on screen.
Barbie’s ensemble revolves around Margot Robbie. Oppenheimer’s ensemble revolves around Cillian Murphy and he is really, really f-cking good in the lead role. And he has to be, because Oppenheimer is a character study. It’s a film about the race to nuclear armament but it’s also the portrait of the man at the core of the American effort to build the bomb and J Robert Oppenheimer was a complicated man – brilliant, charming, infuriating, often obtuse and insensitive, selfish too, and also deeply principled. Over the course of three hours, Cillian Murphy brings out all those sides of him, it’s an extraordinary performance, and as I said yesterday, it seems almost certain that he’ll get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this role.
That said, early reaction out of Paris where Oscar buzz is concerned is, surprisingly (at least to me), focused on Robert Downey Jr. Sarah will have a full review of Oppenheimer next week before its release so for now, all I’ll say is that while RDJ is good in the film, the section of the film which focuses on his relationship with Oppenheimer (the third act) is actually, in my opinion, the weakest. Still, this is strong work from him – and with this kind of buzz, there’s no doubt they’ll be building an Oscar campaign around him for Best Supporting Actor. And I hope they do the same for Emily Blunt because when she gets her moment in this film, it is something to see.
So here they are, Cillian, RDJ, and Emily with Matt Damon and Christopher Nolan in Paris on what is perhaps their only red carpet together unless a strike is somehow averted. Matt had all four of his daughters with him for the occasion.