All Quiet on the Western Front became the big winner tonight at BAFTA, taking not just the awards for Best Film and Best Director, but a total of 7 prizes out of its 14 nominations.
Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin was next with four wins, including Best British Film, and both Supporting performance prizes. It tied with Elvis, which won four awards, including Best Actor for Austin Butler. But longstanding awards front-runner Everything Everywhere All At Once failed to capitalize on the success it has engendered in the U.S., winning only one award for Best Editing from 10 nominations.
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Early in the evening, after winning the prize for Film Not in the English language, All Quiet director Edward Berger reflected on his work experience for James Schamus and James Hope’s company, Good Machine, and their production of Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility: “In 1994, I booked plane tickets for Emma Thompson, and I thought that was the highlight of my life.”
Accepting his award for British Film, The Banshees of Inisherin director Martin McDonagh qualified his very Irish film’s bonafides for the prize. “Thanks to Rosie, our stand-in donkey, who was British,” he laughed. “She never actually made it on screen—she was a bit too tubby—but Jenny [the starring donkey] loved her, and we couldn’t have made the film without her.”
BAFTA’s Chair Krishnendu Majumdar spoke in his pre-broadcast speech this evening about the film organization’s push to diversify its nominees and winners, instituting more than a hundred changes to its rules to ensure more representative selections. But despite a diverse list of nominations, no significant wins by people of color in the ‘big six’ categories, and that will reignite debate about the success of its efforts.
All four of its acting prizes went to white performers, including Kerry Condon for Supporting Actress and Barry Keoghan for Supporting Actor, both for The Banshees of Inisherin. Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Tar, while Austin Butler pipped local favorite Colin Farrell to win the Best Actor prize for Elvis. Charlotte Wells received the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for her film Aftersun.
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