‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Wins Big at the BAFTAs
The German-language antiwar movie won best film, best director and five other awards at Britain’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.
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By Alex Marshall
In a shock to this year’s awards season, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” a German-language movie set in the trenches of World War I, was the big winner at the EE British Academy Film and Television Arts Awards in London on Sunday night.
The Netflix movie was named best picture at the awards, commonly known as the BAFTAs. The antiwar film beat four higher-profile titles, including “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the sci-fi adventure starring Michelle Yeoh, and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy about the ending of a friendship on a small island.
“All Quiet” also beat Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic and “Tár,” Todd Field’s drama about a conductor accused of sexual harassment.
Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel of the same title, “All Quiet on the Western Front” won six other awards, including best director for Edward Berger, best adapted screenplay and best film not in the English language.
During the ceremony, Berger seemed overcome by the wins. While accepting the award for best adapted screenplay, he mentioned the movie’s antiwar message and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
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“There are no heroes in any war,” he said.
“All Quiet” was expected to do well at the awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars. When the BAFTA nominations were announced last month, it secured 14 nods and tied with Ang Lee’s 2000 action film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for the highest number of nominations for a movie not in the English language.
British critics raved about the movie upon its release. Danny Leigh wrote in The Financial Times that Berger “expertly handled” the challenge facing any antiwar film: how to stop war from looking glamorous. “Here, dawn quagmires lit by dots of orange flame and troops mad-eyed with animal fear register both as fine cinema and potent fury,” Leigh said.
Peter Bradshaw said in The Guardian that “All Quiet” was “a powerful, eloquent, conscientiously impassioned film.”
American critics were less effusive. Ben Kenigsberg, writing in The New York Times, said the film “aims to pummel you with ceaseless brutality.”
The BAFTAs have long been seen as a bellwether for the Oscars, scheduled for March 12, because of an overlap between their voting bodies. “All Quiet” is nominated for nine categories at those awards, including for best film.
Steven Spielberg’s award favorite “The Fabelmans” wasn’t nominated for best movie or best director at the BAFTAs; it received one nomination, for best original screenplay.
Before “All Quiet” swept the main prizes, this year’s BAFTAs, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, had a variety of winners, with the major acting gongs being shared by three different films.
Cate Blanchett won best actress for playing a conductor in crisis in “Tár.” She beat nominees that included Viola Davis for her performance in “The Woman King,” Danielle Deadwyler for her role as Emmett Till’s mother in “Till,” and Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Accepting the prize, a tearful Blanchett thanked her fellow nominees for “breaking the myth that women’s experience is monolithic.”
Austin Butler won the best actor award for his title role in “Elvis.” Butler last month took the same prize at the Golden Globes and was nominated for best actor at the Oscars.
“The Banshees of Inisherin,” one of this award season’s most highly touted movies, did not leave the BAFTAs empty-handed, taking four awards, including best original screenplay, best supporting actor for Barry Keoghan and best supporting actress for Kerry Condon.
The ceremony, hosted by Richard E. Grant, was short on drama, though Carey Mulligan, nominated for “She Said,” was accidentally announced as the best supporting actress instead of Condon.
The incident occurred when Troy Kotsur, the deaf star of “CODA,” was announcing the category’s winner with an interpreter. The mistake was edited out of the show’s television broadcast in Britain.
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