The summer of 2023 was dominated by the Barbenheimer phenomenon at the box office. Oppenheimer earned rave reviews, as did Irish actor Cillian Murphy for his portrayal of atomic bomb architect J. Robert Oppenheimer in the film.
Awards season is starting to heat up, and the Oscars buzz around the movie and Murphy specifically is palpable. His dedication to his work has earned the praise of one of his co-stars, Robert Downey Jr. Downey admitted in his speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival that he knew Oppenheimer was going to be something so much bigger than what anyone expected when he learned that Murphy had been chosen for the lead role.
“It’s that kind of generational casting decision that gives you chills, just the potential of it,” Downey said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “When I heard the announcement, I said, ‘This is going to be event cinema.’ And then this guy had to prove it.”
Needless to say, Murphy proved he had what it takes, and Downey marveled at his undeniable talent firsthand. “I’ve been in this game for 40-something years and I’ve never had the experience like watching Cillian carry the weight of J. Robert on his back for the whole time with his heart on his sleeve and all the required sophistication and restraint,” he said.
Murphy shared some kind words in return when he took the stage to speak. “He’s one of the kindest, most compassionate, generous, funniest humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” the Irish actor said.
Only time will tell how Murphy will fare this awards season, though he seems to have the approval of some of his peers already.