- Oppenheimer’s success has spawned a slew of hilarious memes, with its three-hour runtime providing plenty of source material for internet humor.
- The popularity of Oppenheimer can be attributed in part to the success of “Barbenheimer”, a double theater package featuring two of the year’s biggest movies.
- With its high box office earnings and potential for Academy Award nominations, especially for Best Picture, Oppenheimer has positioned Christopher Nolan to finally win a well-deserved honor, despite his previous nominations.
The massive success and popularity of Oppenheimer have created a storm of hilarious memes on social media. The Christopher Nolan movie runs a total of three hours, giving the internet a lot of source material to work with in creating dozens of funny memes. Much of the internet’s infatuation with Oppenheimer comes after the cultural phenomenon of “Barbenheimer”, which combined two of the biggest movie so the year into one double theater package in theaters nationwide. In many regards, Oppenheimer owes much of its trending status to Great Gerwig’s Barbie, which is inching toward the title of the highest-grossing film of 2023.
Oppenheimer currently stands as the fifth highest-grossing movie of 2023 and will likely become the fourth after surpassing Fast X at the global box office. Oppenheimer is already an early favorite for the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars, which are scheduled to take place in March of next year. Christopher Nolan has yet to win a Best Picture or Best Director Academy Award, but the cultural significance of Oppenheimer combined with the sheer force of the storytelling in the film puts the celebrated filmmaker in a unique position to come away with a well-deserved honor. In the meantime, here are the best Oppenheimer internet memes.
12 Oppenheimer Smiling
The “Oppenheimer smiling” meme is one of the most popular ones circulating the internet with a photoshopped smile on the protagonist’s face. One thing that Oppenheimer hardly does throughout the film is smile due to the grave nature of his assignment. Here Oppenheimer actually appears happy which is uncanny to see, especially attached to text such as “Oppenheimer if he had invented something fun” such as yo-yos or Starburst. It’s a hilarious take on the tormented figure but also a point of the guilt he might have avoided had he not created the atomic bomb.
11 Oppenheimer Getting Yelled At
Oppenheimer’s extreme anxiety and inner turmoil in depicted in these scenes that replicate the light he witnessed from the Trinity Project atomic testing. His life was essentially blowing up during the scene depicted in the meme. The internet took the concept and applied it to their everyday instances of extreme fear and anxiety such as “This is how it felt doing math homework with your dad” and other hilarious and relatable examples of getting yelled at.
10 Are You Sexually Active?
This incredibly awkward meme takes the humiliating moment from the film and replicates it in another everyday setting that everyone can relate to. Oppenheimer is mortified to share the details of his sexual affair with Jean Tatlock at the security hearing in front of his wife. His face reads the exact reluctant humiliation of a teenager being at the doctor’s office with their mom in the room and the doctor asking about sexual activity.
9 IMAX 70mm Front & Center Seat
Another iconic Oppenheimer meme features a screenshot of someone who bought the middle seat of the front row at one of the thirty 70mm IMAX screenings of Oppenheimer in theaters. The creator of the meme points out the absurdity of buying the ticket because of how close it is to the screen and how strange their neck would be trying to capture the entire image of the eight-story tall screen. The meme also jokes about how the onscreen nuclear explosion could give off radiation for being that close.
8 Oppenheimer Stretched Faces
The other hilarious part of sitting that close to the screen at the 70mm IMAX showing is how the faces appeared distorted and stretched from that angle. Being that close to the screen was basically like being at the foot of a small building, which made the perspective of Oppenheimer’s face stretched out and hilarious looking. Oppenheimer appears to have a much thicker and wider jaw from that angle than he is meant to, drawing comparisons to Thanos from the Avengers movies.
7 Einstein & Oppenheimer Talking
Another popular Oppenheimer meme features a girl whispering to her friend, saying “I bet they are talking about us.” The meme jokes that the two are actually talking about something else entirely. The scene that the meme was inspired by was pivotal in the movie in the downfall of Lewis Strauss who betrayed Oppenheimer and exacted his revenge against him because he presumed that he had badmouthed him to Einstein.
6 Best Supporting Actor Contenders
This meme highlights the very real possibility that the 2024 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor could come down between these two performances. While it would be inspiring for either Robert Downey Jr. or Ryan Gosling to win the coveted award, the meme points out the hilarity in the contrast between the two characters. One is an incredibly serious role while the other is obviously meant to be eccentric and goofy.
5 Having A Job/Not Having A Job
This meme takes Oppenheimer’s final stare at the end of the movie and places it in another real-world context. The meme jokes about the inevitability of being unhappy regardless of the situation of having a job or not having a job, something most people will relate to. Oppenheimer may have been unhappy regardless of whether he created the atomic bomb or not due to his nature and dissatisfaction in other areas of his life.
4 Disappointed Cillian Murphy
The disappointed Cillian Murphy meme is one of the most hilarious ones to come out of the Oppenheimer hype, especially in a clip where he claims he has never heard of it before. Cillian often looks displeased or annoyed while being interviewed, which is where the origin of the meme comes from. When asked about it, Cillian had no idea what it was and actually claimed to not even know what a meme was in the first place.
3 Now I Am Become A Barbie Girl
The overlap of Barbie and Oppenheimer will always link the two in cinematic history. This crossover meme of the two celebrated films might be one of the funniest on the internet. Oppenheimer’s famous real quote from the religious text Bhagavad Gita “Now I have become Death, destroyer of worlds” is given a Barbie makeover based on the classic hit song “Barbie World.” It’s a hilarious mashup and remix of the memorable line which is one of Oppenheimer’s best quotes.
2 Josh Peck & Miranda Cosgrove
One of the most inventive memes out of Oppenheimer goes back to Josh Peck’s appearance on Drake & Josh. After Peck’s character presses the button for the Trinity test, the meme creator imagines what they nearly expected to happen afterward with this moment from Drake & Josh. Peck looks out of the tree house and discovered his pestering sister Megan unplugged something down below, making for a hilarious callback to the show that Peck became famous for.
1 Number Of Stars In The Flag Is Wrong
Many internet critics went wild over the apparent inaccuracy in the number of stars in the American flags used in Oppenheimer’s victory speech scene. Several memes surfaced to poke fun at the outrage, pointing to other minor inaccuracies in the mostly authentic movie that can be easily overlooked in the context of how impressive the film is otherwise. The meme calls out the unnecessary internet critics of Oppenheimer.