Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas standing with their Golden Globes

Christopher Nolan Remembers Heath Ledger in His Golden Globes Speech

Christopher Nolan is the talk of Hollywood currently for his work in Oppenheimer. At the 81st annual Golden Globes, Nolan (along with Robert Downey Jr., Cillian Murphy, and the film itself) was honored with awards throughout the night.

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He was awarded Best Director for Oppenheimer—which Downey called a masterpiece in his own victory speech for his role in the film as Louis Strauss—and rightfully so. This marks the first time that Nolan won a Golden Globe for his work, despite many nominations, but it was the second time he accepted an award at the show. The first time was in 2009, on behalf of Heath Ledger, for his work in Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

It was emotional for Nolan, as he took the time in his own speech to note that memory and brought up the fact that Robert Downey Jr., who was nominated the same year as Ledger for his work in Tropic Thunder, was giving him looks of encouragement during the speech. It was an emotional thing to remember and a beautiful moment in his well-deserved speech.

“The only time I’ve ever been on the stage before was accepting one of these on behalf of our dear friend, Heath Ledger,” Nolan said. “And that was complicated and challenging for me, and in the middle of speaking, Robert Downey Jr. caught my eye, and gave me a look of love and support—the same look he’s giving me now, the same love and support he’s shown so many people in our community. I thought it would be simpler accepting for myself, but as a director, I realized I can only accept this on behalf of people. As directors, we bring people together, and we try and get them to give their best.”

It was beyond deserved

Labeling a creative’s work “perfect” is hard, but Christopher Nolan does has a filmography that is one stunning film after the other. Often, it is hard to figure out which Nolan movie is the best or which is your favorite, and even then, you might change your mind when he puts out something new. He is just that good, so to see him finally recognized by the Golden Globes gives me hope for this award season as a whole, because it is wild that Nolan does not have an Academy Award yet—yet being the key word.

Christopher Nolan is a director who has consistently been doing work that is above and beyond. One of my own personal favorite directors, his work is masterful, but that doesn’t mean that Hollywood often recognizes him. Typically, when it has been a long time coming for someone to be recognized for their filmography, I don’t necessarily agree with the movie that makes it happen, but what makes Nolan’s win so brilliant is that Oppenheimer was, truly, one of his best films yet.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of many awards for Nolan and Oppenheimer throughout the season, because it is Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus.

(featured image: Gilbert Flores/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.