By Lisa Richwine and Danielle Broadway
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) -“Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy won the Golden Globes trophy for best actor in a movie drama on Sunday as Hollywood kicked off its annual awards season at a festive celebration that turned a corner on contentious labor battles last year.
Murphy played J. Robert Oppenheimer in director Christopher Nolan’s story about the making of the atomic bomb. The actor thanked Nolan as he accepted his Globes trophy.
“I was in the hands of a visionary director, a master,” Murphy said.
“Oppenheimer” was one of the biggest box office hits of 2023. Robert Downey Jr., who played Oppenheimer’s professional nemesis in the film, won the award for best supporting actor.
“A sweeping story about the ethical dilemma of nuclear weapons grosses one billion dollars. Does that track?” Downey joked.
Emma Stone was named best actress in a motion picture comedy or musical for her lead role in gothic comedy/drama “Poor Things.” She said her character in the film, Bella, “accepts the good and bad in equal measure.”
“She has stayed with me deeply,” Stone said.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph won the Globe for supporting actress in a movie for her role of a grieving mother in “The Holdovers.”
The Globes honored the best of film and television selected by a new group of 300 entertainment journalists from around the world, part of reforms made after a diversity and ethics scandal among Globe voters.
The glitzy ceremony kicked off Hollywood’s annual awards season, which culminates with the Oscars on March 10, and brought top stars together for the first time after six months of strikes by actors and writers in 2023. The event gave performers the chance to mingle and to publicize their movies and TV shows after months when red carpets and other promotion was prohibited.
Jo Koy, a comedian hosting his first major awards show, opened the ceremony with jabs at some of the A-list stars and their projects. “Oppenheimer,” a historical drama running three hours long, “needed another hour,” Koy joked. “I felt like it needed some more back story.”
The ceremony was broadcast live on CBS and streamed simultaneously for subscribers to Paramount+ with Showtime.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift joined the Hollywood crowd in a shiny, green gown. The singer was a nominee for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” her concert film that was in the running in a new category for cinematic and box office achievement.
In the television field, “Succession” received several accolades for its final season about the high-stakes battle for control of a global media empire. Kieran Culkin, who played wayward son Roman Roy, landed the award for best TV drama actor.
“Suck it, Pedro!” Culkin joked to competitor Pedro Pascal, star of “The Last of Us.”
Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri won awards for their leading roles on restaurant dramedy “The Bear.”
Known as a boozy celebration more relaxed than the Oscars, the Globes nearly disappeared. A 2021 Los Angeles Times report revealed ethical lapses and a lack of diversity among the roughly 80 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that previously voted on the Globes. The 2022 ceremony was scrapped while the organization made reforms.
Last year, the Globes were sold to new owners and the association was disbanded. Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions now operate the awards, with a voting body of 300 journalists from 75 countries with 60% racial and ethnic diversity.
Sunday’s turnout showed Hollywood had re-embraced the Globes as a key stop on the awards campaign trail. In the crowd were several Hollywood legends from Meryl Streep to Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, all Globe nominees vying for Oscars this year.
“I can’t believe I’m in this room with all these people I have loved so much, admired so much, for so long,” White said as he accepted his award for “The Bear.” “It’s unreal.”
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)