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Austin Butler Gets Best Actor Boost, ‘Everything Everywhere’ Up in the Air for Best Picture After BAFTA and DGA Split

Did 'The Banshees of Inisherin' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front' provide enough evidence as best picture alternates?

Barry Keoghan - Austin Butler - All Quiet on the Western Front
Everett Collection

A pair of Oscar bellwether ceremonies took place this weekend, heralding uncertainty and unpredictability to an awards season where no one agrees on what contenders will end up taking home Academy Awards.

The DGA Awards, which has historically matched up best with the eventual winner of best director, chose the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. They’re the third directing team to win in the DGA’s 75-year history (after 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 the Academy Award in the same season, with the last instance being Sam Mendes (“1917”), who won at 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, with Netflix’s German remake “All Quiet on the Western Front” crowned the best film by the British Academy. BAFTA also embraced Searchlight’s bleak comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Warner Bros.’ music biopic “Elvis,” while mostly passing on A24’s “Everything Everywhere” which won a single award for editing (Paul Rogers).

“All Quiet” walked away with seven BAFTAs – best film, director (Edward Berger), adapted screenplay, cinematography, sound, original score and non-English language film. Berger is the first non-Oscar nominated director to win since Ben Affleck for “Argo” (2012), which went on to win best picture. The muscular showing puts the remake of the original best picture winner in a solid position for the streaming giant to make a play for the top category, coming one year after Apple became the first streamer to win the best picture Oscar for “CODA.”

With 14 BAFTA noms (tied for 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 expected this well. Nevertheless, without DGA, SAG, PGA or WGA noms (it wasn’t eligible for WGA), it’d be a mountain to climb for the war drama to emerge victorious at the Academy Awards, despite being the second most Oscar-nominated film.

Nonetheless, “All Quiet” is locked and loaded for best international feature, along with some BAFTA wins having a good chance of translating to Oscar. Still, each has its fair share of historical obstacles and competition to overcome – adapted screenplay (but “Women Talking” was snubbed for a BAFTA nomination), cinematography (the film missed ASC), sound (close competition with editing nominee “Top Gun: Maverick”) and original score (battling with “Babylon”).

One thing you can take away from its haul, particularly Berger’s win for best director, is that it has arguably maintained Steven Spielberg’s Oscar chances for best director following his massive DGA loss. The Golden Globe win for directing will be what accompanies the veteran filmmaker walking into the ceremony. You have to go back to Mel Gibson for “Braveheart” (1995) to find an Oscar-winner for directing that only had a Globe and no other major precursors.

Notably, Spielberg’s chances are slightly elevated because, despite Kwan and Scheinert beating him on his DGA home turf, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that “Everything Everywhere” received a massive campaign blow at BAFTA. It’d be far too simple to chalk it up to “it’s just the Brits,” 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 are witnessing one of the most competitive Oscar races for best picture in quite some time (and yes, I too feel like I write that every year). It was in the 2001-2002 awards season when “A Beautiful Mind” won the Oscar for best picture after the four major precursor groups — BAFTA, DGA, SAG and PGA — went to four different movies. We seem to be headed toward a similar outcome.

Martin McDonagh’s “Banshees” made a compelling case for in the original screenplay race after beating out the Daniels at the BAFTAs. Nominated for nine Oscars, the film seemed to slip in the charts over the past few weeks, but “Banshees” has a winning combination, paired with the Golden Globe for best screenplay. Worth noting, the last time the Globes and BAFTA matched for an original screenplay winner was McDonagh’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017), which went on to lose 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, notably, Colin Farrell (“Banshees”), who was heavily favored to win the BAFTA prize among pundits.

With four days left 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 next Sunday at the SAG Awards ceremony. Fraser and Farrell both have one televised award thus far, with the former having Critics Choice and the latter with the Golden Globe for lead actor (comedy or musical).

Cate Blanchett won her fourth BAFTA (second most in history) for her turn in Todd Field’s “Tár.” The win over her closest challenger, Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere”), has placed her on a clear path to winning her third competitive Oscar following “The Aviator” (2004) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013). She would be the fifth woman and eighth actor to achieve this feat. Yeoh’s last shot at gold comes at the SAG ceremony.

Condon’s triumph over Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” in addition to Keoghan’s shocking win over comeback sensation Ke Huy Quan from “Everything Everywhere,” isn’t expected to translate to the Oscars. Rather, it could point to the strength of other films or possible international weakness of support for the populist titles in the race, such as “Top Gun: Maverick” (which went home empty-handed).

Other races that seem like flip coins are best documentary feature (between “Fire of Love” and “Navalny”) and production design (despite ADG and BAFTA win for “Babylon,” it could still be an “Elvis” or “Fabelmans” triumph).

Next up is the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday, Feb. 25, one day before the SAG Awards on Feb. 26.

Still a ways to go.

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 Feb. 19)

Best Picture:
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) — Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang

Director:
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)

Actor:
Austin Butler, “Elvis” (Warner Bros.)

Actress:
Cate Blanchett, “Tár” (Focus Features)

Supporting Actor:
Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)

Supporting Actress:
Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Marvel Studios)

Original Screenplay:
“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) — Martin McDonagh

Adapted Screenplay:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell

Animated Feature:
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (Netflix) – Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley

Production Design:
“Babylon” (Paramount Pictures) — Florencia Martin (production designer), Anthony Carlino (set decorator)

Cinematography:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) – James Friend

Costume Design:
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) — Catherine Martin

Film Editing:
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) — Paul Rogers

Makeup and Hairstyling:
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) – Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti

Sound:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte

Visual Effects:
“Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios) — Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett

Original Score:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Volker Bertelmann

Original Song:
“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” (Variance Films) – Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose  

Documentary Feature:
“Fire of Love” (National Geographic Documentary Films/Neon) — Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman

International Feature:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany)

Animated Short:
“My Year of Dicks” (Cat’s Pajamas) — Sara Gunnarsdóttir and Pamela Ribon

Documentary Short:
“The Martha Mitchell Effect” (Netflix) – Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison

Live Action Short:
“An Irish Goodbye” (Floodlight Pictures) – Tom Berkeley and Ross White

Oscar predictions for winners (week of Feb. 9) are down below. To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.