After it earned 14 out of 15 possible nominations, we should have known that All Quiet on the Western Front was a major threat as far as the BAFTAs were concerned. And yet, this seemed like The Banshees of Inisherin’s time to shine. Well, the British Academy has announced their victors, and though they loved Martin McDonagh’s latest, it couldn’t defeat Edward Berger’s Netflix juggernaut. The German Oscar submission won seven awards, including Best Film and Director. Banshees had to settle for four prizes, the same number of wins Elvis amassed. Beyond those three, no other title managed to take home more than one statuette, not even the the Oscar frontrunner Everything Everywhere All At Once.
But what does it all mean? Let’s assess after the jump…
BEST FILM: All Quiet on the Western Front, Malte Grunert
The German WWI drama wins the top prize only three years after 1917 did the same. Perhaps the lesson is that we should never underestimate these sorts of narratives regarding this organization. Furthermore, one should note that this joins Roma, Jean de Florette, Lacombe Lucien, Day for Night, Ballad of a Soldier, Gervaise, The Wages of Fear, Forbidden Games, La Ronde, and Bicycle Thieves in the group of non-English-language Best Film winners. In that regard, the British Academy is ahead of the Academy, though only Roma represents a step beyond European cinema.
Oscar-wise, this is terrible news for The Banshees of Inisherin. If it couldn’t win here, it surely won’t do better with AMPAS, right?
BEST DIRECTOR: Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front
Berger’s victory is shocking when one considers how often BAFTA gives this prize to Oscar nominees. For perspective, you have to go back to Ben Affleck and Argo in 2012 for another example, and Pedro Almodóvar in 1999 before him. This tells us that the race is still flexible despite the Daniels’ DGA triumph.
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Is Blanchett going to sweep? She’s the only acting contender still in that position. We’ll see if SAG continues her victory lap or if they’ll go with Yeoh. I hope for the latter to keep up the suspense if nothing else.
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Austin Butler, Elvis
If Farrell was going to win the Oscar, one supposed he’d have won the BAFTA. Right now, this race is about Butler vs. Fraser, with the younger actor having the advantage of being in a Best Picture nominee and the Academy’s pro-biopic bias.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Now, this pair feels like a BAFTA-only phenomenon. Ke Huy Quan is still the undisputed favorite for the Oscar, while Bassett can cement her chances with one more imperious speech if she wins the SAG. Still, the Supporting Actress category seems more open to surprises than its male counterpart.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: All Quiet on the Western Front, Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
We may be looking at our Oscar winners in the screenplay categories. Nevertheless, don’t discount the possibility of an EEAAO sweep and the writerly showiness of Women Talking.
BEST EDITING: Everything Everywhere All At Once, Paul Rogers
This editing achievement is so in your face that not even the competition of BAFTA’s three favorite films could prevent it from winning. The Oscar feels sewn up. Though, of course, you never know.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: All Quiet on the Western Front, James Friend
I’d assume Friend had the Oscar in the bag if it weren’t for the ASC snub. The last time a film won the Cinematography Academy Award without a precursor nod from the guild was back in 2006 with Pan’s Labyrinth. Maybe history will repeat itself with an international contender winning despite that persnickety stat.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Babylon, Florencia Martin & Anthony Carlino
Paired with its recent ADG victory, this is a strong sign that Babylon is the one to beat. A revisionist sojourn through Hollywood history starring Brad Pitt winning Best Production Design… where have we seen this before?
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Elvis, Catherine Martin
BEST MAKE UP & HAIR: Elvis, Jason Baird, Mark Coulier, Louise Coulston & Shane Thomas
These feel like the present frontrunners. Never bet against Martin in a costume race or biopic mimicry in make-up categories.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Avatar: The Way of Water, Richard Baneham, Daniel Barrett, Joe Letteri & Eric Saindon
Nothing to see here, just everything going according to expectations. Congratulations on your future Oscar win, gentlemen.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: All Quiet on the Western Front, Volker Bertelmann
BEST SOUND: All Quiet on the Western Front, Lars Ginzel, Frank Kruse, Viktor Prasil & Markus Stemler
That score win is wild, considering the minimalistic style of Bertelmann’s compositions. Could it repeat these successes with the Academy? Maybe, but I’m skeptical.
BEST CASTING: Elvis, Denise Chamian & Nikki Barrett
Though at first glance, this seemed like an easy win for EEAAO, it wasn’t. Curious to see if SAG follows suit, awarding their ensemble prize to one of the other nominees – Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans and Women Talking.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar & Alexander Bulkley
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Navalny, Daniel Roher, Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller & Odessa Rae
BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: All Quiet on the Western Front, Edward Berger & Malte Grunert
It seems as if these are our big winners of the season, give or take Disney’s power in the Animated race. Could Turning Red still surprise on Oscar night? I think so, and, hey, stranger things have happened.
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR: The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent & Peter Czernin
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR, OR PRODUCER: Aftersun, Charlotte Wells
BEST BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Peter Baynton, Charlie Mackesy, Cara Speller & Hannah Minghella
BEST BRITISH SHORT FILM: An Irish Goodbye, Tom Berkeley & Ross White
In these categories, everything was as expected. Nevertheless, here’s a round of applause to the amazing Charlotte Wells, fresh of her DGA win. One must also wonder if these anglophone shorts will triumph at the Oscars. Historically, the Academy has been quite friendly to international short films, which is good news for the competition. I am crossing my fingers for an Ice Merchants win.