Bafta 2023: Movie stars, royalty gather for UK film awards as 'All Quiet' leads nominations

Its tally of nominations is a joint record for a film not in the English language, equalling the 14 for 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' in 2001


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Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 10:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 10:51 PM

Hollywood stars and UK royalty converged on London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday for the British Academy Film Awards, where German-language antiwar drama “All Quiet on the Western Front” leads the pack of nominees.

The visceral depiction of life and death in the World War I trenches is up for 14 awards, including best picture. Irish tragicomedy “The Banshees of Inisherin“ and madcap metaverse romp “Everything Everywhere All at Once” have 10 nominations each.

Actor Richard E. Grant is hosting the televised ceremony, attended by nominees including Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas and Colin Farrell. Guests and presenters walking the red carpet on the south bank of the River Thames included Eddie Redmayne, Brian Cox, Florence Pugh, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cynthia Erivo, Julianne Moore and Lily James.

Many wore blue ribbons in support of refugees and displaced people.

Jamie Lee Curtis, a supporting actress nominee for “Everything Everywhere,” said the chance awards season provides to celebrate cinema was more important than who wins.

“It’s a moment of celebration in the midst of everything,” Curtis told The Associated Press on the red carpet. “It’s hard out there. Everywhere. All at once. All the time.”

Heir to the throne Prince William, who is president of Britain’s film and television academy, is due to attend alongside his wife Kate, Princess of Wales. Helen Mirren is scheduled to pay tribute to William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September. Mirren portrayed the late monarch onscreen in “The Queen” and onstage in “The Audience.”

The prizes — officially the EE BAFTA Film Awards — are Britain’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Academy Awards and will be watched closely for hints of who may win at the Oscars on March 12.

Last month’s BAFTA nominations announcement helped propel the somber, Netflix-backed “All Quiet” into an awards-season favourite. Its tally of nominations is a joint record for a film not in the English language, equaling the 14 for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in 2001.

“All Quiet,” “Banshees” and “Everything Everywhere” are all best-picture contenders at the Oscars, where “Everything Everywhere” has a leading 11 nominations.

Martin McDonagh’s “Banshees,” the bleakly comic story of a friendship gone sour, has BAFTA nominations including best picture, best director and best actor, for Farrell. Nominations for “Everything Everywhere” include nods for co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — known jointly as “the Daniels” — and a best-actress nomination for Michelle Yeoh.

Baz Lurhmann’s flamboyant musical biopic “Elvis” is up for nine awards, including best picture.

The BAFTA best-picture nominees are “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Todd Field’s symphonic psychodrama “Tár.”

The 10 nominees for outstanding British film, a separate category, include Charlotte Wells’ 1990s family drama “Aftersun,” Sam Mendes’ semi-autobiographical “Empire of Light” and Sophie Hyde’s smart sex comedy “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.”

Britain’s film academy introduced changes to increase the awards’ diversity in 2020, when no women were nominated as best director for the seventh year running and all 20 nominees in the lead and supporting performer categories were white.

This year there are 11 female directors up for awards across all categories, including documentary and animated films. But just one of the main best-director nominees is female: Gina Prince-Bythewood for “The Woman King.” The other nominees are “All Quiet” director Edward Berger, McDonagh for “Banshees,” Kwan/Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere”, Field for “Tár” and Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, for “Decision to Leave.”

Leading actress contenders are Yeoh; Cate Blanchett for “Tár”: Viola Davis for “The Woman King”; Danielle Deadwyler for “Till”; Ana de Armas for “Blonde” and Emma Thompson for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.”

Blanchett said it had been “an extraordinary year for female performers. To be counted among them is really special.”

The best-actor category pits Farrell against Austin Butler for “Elvis”; Brendan Fraser for “The Whale”; Daryl McCormack for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” Paul Mescal for “Aftersun” and Bill Nighy for “Living.”

This is a strong year for Irish actors at the BAFTAs, with McCormack also up for the BAFTA Rising Star award, and Brendan Gleeson. Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon all getting acting nominations in the supporting performer categories for “Banshees.”

McCormack hailed the event as “the Irish BAFTAs.”

“It is a small country, but to see the talent that comes out of it is quite amazing,” he said.

Three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell is set to become the first costume designer to be awarded the academy’s top honor, the BAFTA fellowship.

The harsh world outside showbiz intruded on the awards when Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev, who works for investigative website Bellingcat, said he had been “banned” from the awards because of a risk to public security. He features in the BAFTA-nominated documentary “Navalny,” about jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

The Metropolitan Police said it would not comment “on the safety of an individual or the advice they may have been given." But the force noted that “some journalists face the hostile intentions of foreign states whilst in the U.K.”

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