Did ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ and ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ provide enough evidence for best visual alternatives?
Two Academy Awards ceremonies took place this weekend, heralding uncertainty and unpredictability for an awards season in which no one agrees on which contenders will take home the Academy Awards.
The DGA award, which historically most closely matches eventual winner for best director, chose the All at Once duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. They are the third directing team in DGA’s 75-year history (following Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men). Only eight DGA winners have failed to walk away with an Oscar in the same season, most recently Sam Mendes (“1917”), who won at the DGA but lost to Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) at the 2020 Oscars.
But on Sunday, the BAFTA Awards swung the pendulum in the opposite direction when the British Academy crowned German Netflix remake All Quiet on the Western Front as Best Picture. BAFTA also welcomed Searchlight’s dark comedy The Banshees of Inisherin and Warner Bros.’ Music biopic “Elvis” while mainly passing on A24’s “Everything Everywhere” which won a single award for editing (Paul Rogers).
All Quiet walked away with seven BAFTAs – Best Picture, Director (Edward Berger), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound, Original Score and Foreign Language Film. Berger is the first non-Academy director to win Best Picture since Ben Affleck’s Argo (2012). The muscular show puts the remake of the original best picture winner in a solid position for the streaming giant to compete in the top category, a year after Apple became the first streamer to win the best picture Oscar for “CODA.”
With 14 BAFTA nominations (the second-most of any film in history), All Quiet was expected to do well with voters across the pond, but I don’t think anyone did the math. Still, without any DGA, SAG, PGA, or WGA nominations (it didn’t qualify for WGA), it would be a mountain to climb for the war drama to emerge victorious at the Oscars, despite being the second most for the Oscar nominated film is .
Nonetheless, All Quiet is barred and loaded for best international film, along with some BAFTA wins that have a good chance of translating into an Oscar. Still, each must overcome its fair share of historical obstacles and competition — adjusted screenplay (but “Women Talking” was snubbed for a BAFTA nomination), cinematography (the film missed ASC), sound (close competition with adaptation-nominated “Top Gun: Maverick”) and original score (battle with “Babylon”).
One thing you can take away from his haul, particularly Berger’s Best Director win, is that he arguably preserved Steven Spielberg’s Best Director Oscar chances after his massive DGA loss. Winning the Golden Globe for directing will accompany the veteran filmmaker entering the ceremony. You have to go back to Mel Gibson for Braveheart (1995) to find an Oscar-winning director who had only a Globe and no other major precedents.
Remarkably, Spielberg’s odds are slightly increased because although Kwan and Scheinert beat him on his DGA home turf, there’s no glossing over the fact that “Everything Everywhere” suffered a massive campaign win at BAFTA. It would be far too easy to attribute it to “just the British,” as many shared on social media.
TAR, from left: Sophie Kauer, Cate Blanchett, 2022. ©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection ©Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection
We’re witnessing one of the toughest Oscar races for best picture in quite some time (and yes, I feel like I write this every year, too). It was during the 2001-2002 awards season that “A Beautiful Mind” won the Academy Award for Best Picture after the four major precursor groups – BAFTA, DGA, SAG and PGA – competed in four different films. We seem to be heading for a similar outcome.
Martin McDonagh’s “Banshees” made a compelling case for the original script race after beating the Daniels at the BAFTAs. The nine-Oscar-nominated film seemed to be slipping down the charts in recent weeks, but “Banshees” has a winning combo, coupled with a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Notably, the last time the Globes and BAFTA came together over an original screenplay winner was McDonagh’s Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), which later lost the Oscar to Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
For his performance as Elvis Presley, Austin Butler managed to dance past Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) and especially Colin Farrell (“Banshees”), who was heavily favored among experts to win the BAFTA award.
With four days remaining in the SAG voting period, Butler may have received a much-needed boost to push him across the finish line, especially if he manages to repeat at next Sunday’s SAG awards show. Fraser and Farrell have both received television awards, with the former receiving a Critics Choice and the latter a Golden Globe for Lead Actor (Comedy or Musical).
Cate Blanchett won her fourth BAFTA (second highest in history) for her role in Todd Field’s “Tár.” Defeating her closest challenger, Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere”), put her on a clear path to winning her third competitive Oscar after “The Aviator” (2004) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013). She would be the fifth woman and eighth actor to accomplish the feat. Yeoh’s last shot at gold comes at the SAG ceremony.
Condon’s triumph over Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda, as well as Keoghan’s shock victory over Everything Everywhere comeback sensation Ke Huy Quan, are unlikely to lead to the Oscars. Rather, it could point to the strength of other films or possible international weakness in support for the populist titles in the running, such as Top Gun: Maverick (which came up empty-handed).
Other races that look like flip coins are best documentary (between Fire of Love and Navalny) and production design (despite ADG and BAFTA wins for Babylon, it could still be an Elvis or “Fabelmans” triumph ).
Next up is the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday February 25th, one day before the SAG Awards on February 26th.
Still a long way.
ELVIS, from left: Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, Austin Butler as Elvis Presley, 2022. ph: Hugh Stewart /© Warner Bros. /courtesy Everett Collection ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection
Oscars predictions (as of February 19)
“Everything Everywhere at Once” (A24) – Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, “Everything everywhere at once” (A24)
Austin Butler, “Elvis” (Warner Bros.)
Cate Blanchett, “Tár” (Focus Features)
Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere at Once” (A24)
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) – Martin McDonagh
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) – Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix) – Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley
“Babylon” (Paramount Pictures) – Florencia Martin (Production Designer), Anthony Carlino (Set Designer)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) – James Friend
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) – Catherine Martin
“Everything everywhere at once” (A24) – Paul Rogers
Make-up and hair styling:
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) – Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
“Silence on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte
“Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios) — Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
“Silence on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Volker Bertelmann
“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” (Variance Films) – music by MM Keeravaani; Lyrics by Chandrabose
“Love’s Fire” (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon) – Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman
“Silence on the Western Front” (Germany)
Animated short film:
My Year of Dicks (cat pajamas) – Sara Gunnarsdóttir and Pamela Ribon
Documentary short film:
“The Martha Mitchell Effect” (Netflix) – Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison
Live action short film:
“An Irish Farewell” (Floodlight Images) – Tom Berkeley and Ross White
The Oscar predictions for the winners (week of February 9th) are below. To view the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety Shows Oscars Hub.