Bafta Awards 2023: All Quiet on the Western Front triumphs

Anti-war epic scoops seven prizes, including best film and best director

From left, cinematographer James Friend, producer Malte Grunert and director Edward Berger celebrate their win for All Quiet on the Western Front. PA
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German language film All Quiet on the Western Front was the big winner at the British Film and Television Awards, scooping seven honours.

The Netflix anti-war epic, directed by German filmmaker Edward Berger and based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, scooped top gongs including Best Film and Best Director.

It broke the record for the highest number of Baftas for a foreign-language film, previously held by Italian coming-of-age drama Cinema Paradiso, which took five in 1988.

Taking to the stage at the climax of the event at London’s Royal Festival Hall, cinematographer James Friend said the film showed how a generation of young German men were “poisoned by right-wing nationalistic propaganda” and he stressed that the film’s message remains “relevant” nearly a century on.

Berger paid tribute to those fighting in Ukraine and also told the audience he was able to get over his “doubt” thanks to his daughter Matilda who had encouraged him to film the book she was reading at school.

It was a disappointing night for The Banshees Of Inisherin which had 10 nominations but emerged with only four awards.

But these included Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress for Irish stars Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon.

Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis also won four awards, with its star Austin Butler beating favourite Colin Farrell for Best Actor in a shock decision from the voting academy.

Farrell, who took the starring role in the dark comedy Banshees, had been in contention for his first leading actor Bafta in his 25-year career.

Accepting the prize on stage, Butler thanked the Presley family for their involvement in the film.

“I cannot thank you enough for your love … this means the world to me,” he said.

Everything Everywhere All At Once had an even more disappointing night, securing only one Bafta, for Best Editing, out of 10 nominations.

The Bafta for leading actress went to Cate Blanchett for her role as a conductor facing misconduct claims and psychological conflict in Tar.

Tearfully, the Australian actress accepted the award as she thanked her mother and her director Todd Field, adding that 2022 had been an “extraordinary year for women”.

She said the past 12 months had broken the idea that women’s experiences were not “monolithic”, and that her role as Lydia Tar “was a dangerous and career-ending potential undertaking”.

Earlier in the night, Carey Mulligan was incorrectly announced as the winner of the supporting actress award after a translation error while deaf actor Troy Kotsur was presenting.

Oscar-winner Kotsur was delivering the announcement by sign language before a miscommunication resulted in Mulligan’s name being announced for her performance in She Said.

The announcer quickly corrected themselves and said Condon was the winner for Banshees of Inisherin.

Taking to the stage, Condon paid tribute to her director McDonagh: “Thank you for all the parts you gave me throughout my career. You make me so proud to be an Irish woman.”

She also thanked the “amazing cast” and her family, as well as her horses and dogs.

Ceremony host Richard E Grant joked later that he had a defibrillator for Mulligan after the shock of her name being called and then changed.

The mistake did not feature in the final broadcast on BBC One, which aired slightly behind the ceremony until the final four awards.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy won the Bafta for best British short animation.

Mackesy praised those involved in the adaptation of his illustrated book and hailed those who strive to be “kind” and “brave” in life.

Best costume design went to Catherine Martin for Elvis, with her husband, Luhrmann, accepting in her place.

The Bafta for Best Documentary went to Navalny, while Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio won the Bafta for Best Animated Film.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Anya Taylor-Joy presented the outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer to Charlotte Wells for Aftersun.

Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading also made a surprise performance on stage alongside Little Simz.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 1:04 PM