Baftas 2023: All Quiet on the Western Front conquers as host Richard E Grant wears his heart on his sleeve
It was a record-breaking night at the 2023 Baftas on Sunday (19 February) for anti-war epic All Quiet on the Western Front, which became the most celebrated foreign language film in the organisation’s history with seven wins.
The movie now has the highest number of Baftas for a foreign language film, a record previously held by Italian coming-of-age drama Cinema Paradiso, which claimed five in 1988.
As well as winning trophies for Best Director and Best Score, among others, All Quiet on the Western Front won the biggest award of the night. It beat out competition for Best Film from The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Tár.
In his acceptance speech, cinematographer James Friend said that the film’s message – that young people can be “poisoned by right-wing nationalistic propaganda” and that “war is more than an adventure” – is as relevant now as it was more than a century ago when the book of the same name was published.
He shared a big thank you to Felix Kammerer, the Austrian actor who made his film debut in the war drama. The movie’s German director, Edward Berger, also paid tribute to those fighting in Ukraine.
The Netflix movie is based on the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque and The Independent’s film critic Clarisse Loughrey welcomed the fact that the film, which is somewhat of a sleeper hit, is causing chaos this awards season.
Dark comedy The Banshees of Inisherin secured four wins out of 10 nominations, including for Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress for Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon respectively, and Original Screenplay.
Earlier in the night, She Said star Carey Mulligan was incorrectly announced as the winner of the Supporting Actress award after a translation error while deaf actor Troy Kotsur was presenting.
After the gaffe, which was edited out of the BBC One broadcast, Kotsur’s interpreter admitted his own mistake and said: “This is a bad moment.”
Host Richard E Grant joked that he had a defibrillator for Mulligan after the shock of her name being called.
Grant was a gentle host, joking that the only slaps on his watch at the ceremony would be slaps on the back. The actor, whose wife Joan Washington died in 2021, appeared to be holding back tears as he introduced the In Memoriam segment.
Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis had four wins, with its star Austin Butler beating favourite Colin Farrell to the Best Actor gong in a surprise triumph for the American.
An extraordinary moment for Austin Butler #EEBAFTAs pic.twitter.com/pnigQzcZfq
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) February 19, 2023
The Bafta for Leading Actress went to Cate Blanchett for her role as a conductor facing misconduct claims and psychological conflict in Tar.
The Best Documentary award, meanwhile, went to Navalny, while Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio won the Bafta for Animated Film.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Anya Taylor-Joy presented the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer award to Charlotte Wells for Aftersun.
Tearfully, she thanked the producers, cast and crew and mentioned the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey, where the film was shot.
Wells also said that her film was a “eulogy” to her father, adding: “He’s not here, but my mum is.”