Christopher Nolan’s epic about the atomic bomb had eight nominations compared with nine for the box office blockbuster Barbie.
Oppenheimer, one of the biggest box office hits of 2023, has won multiple Golden Globes, as Hollywood kicked off its annual awards season.
Irish actor Cillian Murphy took home best male actor for his portrayal of scientist J Robert Oppenheimer in the film about the development of the atomic bomb.
The film was named best drama, Christopher Nolan the best director and Robert Downey Jr the best male supporting actor.
“I was in the hands of a visionary director, a master,” Murphy said as he accepted the Golden Globe on Sunday night.
Indigenous actor Lily Gladstone, a firm favourite, won best actress in a drama film for her role in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
The gothic comedy-drama Poor Things, from celebrated Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, was named best film comedy or musical, and its star, Emma Stone, best actress in a film comedy or musical.
The Globes ceremony marks the start of Hollywood’s annual awards season, which culminates with the Oscars on March 10. Overhauled after a diversity and ethics scandal in 2021, the Globes recognise the best in film and television and brought the stars together for the first time after six months of strikes by actors and writers in 2023.
In television, the drama series Succession was named best television drama and took the top acting awards for its final season about the high-stakes battle for control of a global media empire. Kieran Culkin, who played the wayward son Roman Roy, landed the award for best actor, while Australian Sarah Snook won best actress. British actor Matthew Macfadyen took home best supporting actor for his role as her fictional husband, Tom Wambsgans.
Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri, meanwhile, were recognised for their leading roles in the television comedy The Bear, while road-rage saga Beef picked up best actor and actress limited series awards for Ali Wong and Steven Yeun.
Several Hollywood legends, from Meryl Streep to Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, all Globe nominees vying for Oscars this year, were among those on the red carpet for the revamped awards.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift was also at the ceremony where she was nominated for the newly created trophy for box office achievement for her film on her Eras tour.
That award went to Barbie, the satire on misogyny and female empowerment that made more than $1bn in ticket sales and was nominated for nine awards including best comedy and best director for Greta Gerwig.
It also won best song for Billie Eilish for What Was I Made For?
Among the other winners were the French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, which won best screenplay and best film in a language other than English, and The Boy and the Heron, which won best animated film for Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.
Preliminary figures showed the Globes drew 9.4 million viewers, even as the gala’s host, comedian Jo Koy, was savaged by critics.
Koy was brought in at the last-minute to host the event after several bigger names declined the role.
As his opening monologue fell flat, he protested that he had only “got the gig 10 days ago,” and pointed the finger at the show’s writers for many of his poorly-received jabs.
The New York Times dubbed the opening monologue “a highlight reel of mortifying moments,” while Vanity Fair said it was a “horrid, sophomoric mishmash of lazy jokes.”