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Christopher Nolan Scores His First-Ever Oscar Nomination for Best Director

Christopher Nolan has finally found a seat at the table with his director peers in the motion picture Academy.

The “Dunkirk” helmer picked up his first-ever best-director Oscar nomination Tuesday after three previous bids stalled with the Academy. While the Directors Guild of America had nominated Nolan for “Memento” (2000), “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “Inception” (2010) prior to this year’s recognition for his latest feat of virtuoso filmmaking, the Academy’s directors branch just never would bite.

The “Inception” miss in particular was puzzling for a best picture nominee that ended up being the year’s most awarded film at the Oscars that year. (Nolan did, however, receive screenplay Oscar nominations for “Memento” and “Inception,” as well as a best picture nomination for the latter.)

In addition to the director recognition this year, Nolan was also nominated alongside wife and co-producer Emma Thomas in the best picture category for his gripping World War II drama.

Dunkirk” received eight Oscar nominations in total, the majority of them throughout the Academy’s various craft categories. It’s a particularly strong contender in the cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing races, three awards that, incidentally, went to “Inception” in its year.

“Dunkirk” comes into the Oscars as the box office champ of this year’s best picture slate. The film opened to $50.5 million domestic in July and went on to gross $525.5 million worldwide.

“At a time when there’s all kinds of storytelling around, movies that gravitate toward things that only movies can do carve out a place for themselves,” Nolan told Variety in a wide-ranging interview at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. “As a director, I try to show people things they’ve never seen before.”

The 90th annual Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4.

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