nolans sarandos

Source: Michael Baker / Nick Agro / AMPAS

Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas; Ted Sarandos

Oppenheimer duo Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos all received awards in a surprise UK honours list published on Thursday (March 28) on the eve of the Easter break.

London-born British-American director Nolan was made a knight bachelor for his services to film, meaning he now carries the title ‘sir’, while his partner and long-time producer Emma Thomas received a damehood.

The duo recently collected the best picture Oscar for Oppenheimer at the 96th Academy Awards (alongside fellow producer Charles Roven), while Nolan was named best director on a night that saw the film win seven awards. Nolan was previously a commander of the order of the British Empire (CBE).

US executive Sarandos has been awarded an honorary CBE.

The trio were the only honourees from the creative industries on an 18-strong honours list. The lists are typically published over New Year and the official birthday of the monarch in June; however the prime minister or senior government ministers can recommend them at other times.

Creative industries figures on the 2024 New Year’s list included director Ridley Scott, who was made a Knight Grand Cross; and Game Of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, who became a member of the order of the British Empire (MBE).

UK filmmakers to have previously received knighthoods include Skyfall director Sam Mendes, and 12 Years A Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen, both in 2019. Honorary awards for international executives are less common; although Disney CEO Bob Iger received an honorary knighthood in 2022.

Oppenheimer has been a worldwide hit since its release last July, grossing more than $960m as of last weekend, and remains in UK-Ireland cinemas after 36 consecutive weekends.