Christopher Edward Nolan CBE (born 30 July 1970) is a British-American film director, producer and screenwriter known for making personal, distinctive films within the Hollywood mainstream. His directorial efforts have grossed more than US$5 billion worldwide, garnered 34 Oscar nominations and ten wins.
Born and raised in London, Nolan developed an interest in filmmaking from a young age. After studying English literature at University College London, he made his feature debut with Following (1998). Nolan gained international recognition with his second film, Memento (2000), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original screenplay. He transitioned from independent to studio filmmaking with Insomnia (2002), and found further critical and commercial success with The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012), The Prestige (2006), and Inception (2010), which received eight Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Original screenplay. This was followed by Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017), and Tenet (2020). He earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best director for his work on Dunkirk.
Nolan's films are typically rooted in epistemological and metaphysical themes, exploring human morality, the construction of time, and the malleable nature of memory and personal identity. His work is permeated by mathematically inspired images and concepts, unconventional narrative structures, practical special effects, experimental soundscapes, large-format film photography, and materialistic perspectives. He has co-written several of his films with his brother Jonathan, and runs the production company Syncopy Inc. with his wife Emma Thomas.
Nolan has received many awards and honours. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2015, and in 2019, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to film.