Palm Springs, CA (November 17, 2023) – The Palm Springs International Film Awards has announced that Cillian Murphy is the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor, for his performance as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The Film Awards will take place on January 4, 2024, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, with the festival running through January 15, 2024. The event will be sponsored by Entertainment Tonight and IHG Hotels & Resorts.

“After working together on five previous films, including The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and Dunkirk, Cillian Murphy and writer-director Christopher Nolan reunite for one of the most ambitious and epic films of the year. Murphy gives a stunning portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer as a conflicted scientist leading the Manhattan Project to produce the world’s first atomic bomb,” said Festival Chairman Nachhattar Singh Chandi. “For this career-best performance, we are honored to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor, to Cillian Murphy.”

Murphy joins this year’s previously announced honorees Emma Stone (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress) and Killers of the Flower Moon (Vanguard Award). Past actor recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day- Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) Gary Oldman (Mank), Sean Penn (Milk), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). In the years they were honored, Bridges, Day-Lewis, McConaughey, Oldman, Penn and Redmayne went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Actor, while Ahmed, Cooper, Driver, Garfield, Farrell, Firth and Pitt received Best Actor Oscar® nominations.

A staggering global cinematic phenomenon which has earned almost $1 billion worldwide, writer-director Christopher Nolan’s record-shattering epic thriller, Oppenheimer, propels audiences into the paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it. With America locked in a devastating war, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer becomes the central figure in a pulse-pounding race against the Nazis to develop the first atomic bomb. The film stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt as his wife, biologist and botanist Kitty Oppenheimer. Oscar® winner Matt Damon portrays Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, and Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

One of the most acclaimed, versatile actors of his generation, Cillian Murphy has starred in major studio hits, award-winning independent films, a celebrated television series and on the stages of London, New York and around the globe. Oppenheimer marks Murphy’s sixth collaboration with and first leading role for Christopher Nolan.

In 2005, the Murphy made an indelible impression as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow in Batman Begins, for which he received a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination. He reprised the role in the Oscar®-winning blockbuster The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises and later collaborated with Nolan as the billionaire heir apparent/mark in the critically acclaimed sensation Inception, which earned four Academy Awards® and eight nominations, including Best Picture. More recently, Murphy played a solider opposite Mark Rylance and Barry Keoghan in Nolan’s groundbreaking World War II epic Dunkirk, which earned three Oscars® and a Best Picture nomination. For six seasons on television, Murphy starred as Thomas Shelby, the most ruthless brother in a family of Birmingham gangsters, in the BAFTA Award-winning series Peaky Blinders.

Murphy’s expansive global filmography includes 28 Days Later, Breakfast on Pluto, A Quiet Place Part II, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, The Party, Free Fire, Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea, Transcendence, Aloft, In Time, Perrier’s Bounty, Sunshine, Red Eye, Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earring and Intermission.

About the Palm Springs International Film Society

The Palm Springs International Film Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness. The Film Society produces the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) and Film Awards every January and Palm Springs ShortFest in June. In addition to curating the best in international cinema, PSIFF’s Film Awards has come to be known as the first stop on the campaign trail for the Academy Awards®, and our Oscar®-qualifying ShortFest is the largest short film festival and market in North America. Our festivals, year-round member screenings and educational programs manifest our organization’s mission by nurturing and encouraging new filmmaking talent, honoring the great masters of world cinema, and expanding audience horizons.

Photo credit: Marco Grob for Universal Pictures


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Daniel Mansour
Marketing Manager, Palm Springs International Film Society