The Anti-war movie, “All quiet on the Western Front” won 7 awards on Sunday, 19th of February at the 76th edition of the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs). This Netflix movie shot in the German language received Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Film. I also received four other awards at Britain’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.
The movie beat four higher-profile titles, including “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, the sci-fi adventure starring Michelle Yeoh, and “The Banshees of Inisherin”, Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy about the ending of a friendship on a small island.
The film, based on the novel of the same title by Erich Maria Remarque, was up for 14 awards in total. This makes it the joint most-nominated foreign-language film in the academy’s 76-year history.
The novel first appeared towards the end of 1928 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung. It was published as a novel in early 1929. It was quickly translated into 26 languages. In Germany alone, nearly half a million copies were sold within months.
The publication and its sequel, “The Road Back”, which was published a year later, were among the texts banned in Nazi Germany.
The movie All Quiet on the Western Front was expected to do well at the awards. It was nominated for 14 awards and tied with Ang Lee’s 2000 action film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for the highest number of nominations for a movie not in the English language by Britain’s Academy Films Awards last month.
British critics babbled about the movie upon its release. Danny Leigh wrote in The Financial Times that Edward Berger, the movie director “expertly handled” the challenge facing any antiwar film. The challenge of how to stop war from looking glamorous.
Here, dawn quagmires lit by dots of orange flame and troops mad-eyed with animal fear register both as fine cinema and potent fury,” Leigh said.
Peter Bradshaw also wrote in The Guardian that All Quiet on the Western Front is “a powerful, eloquent, conscientiously impassioned film.” American critics were less effusive. Ben Kenigsberg, writing in The New York Times, said the film “aims to pummel you with ceaseless brutality”.
The BAFTAs have long been seen as ‘forerunner” for the Oscars, scheduled for March 12. This is because of an overlap between their voting bodies.
All Quiet on the Western Front is nominated for nine award categories at the forthcoming Oscars, including for best film. Steven Spielberg’s award favourite The Fabelmans wasn’t nominated for best movie or best director at the BAFTAs; it received one nomination, for best original screenplay.
Before All Quiet on the Western Front swept the main prizes, this year’s Britain’s Academy Films Awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, had a variety of winners, with the major acting awards shared by three films.
Cate Blanchett won best actress for playing a conductor in crisis in Tár. She beat nominees that included Viola Davis for her performance in The Woman King; Danielle Deadwyler for her role as Emmett Till’s mother in Till and Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
During the ceremony, Edward Berger who earned the best director award seemed overcome by the wins. While accepting the award for Best-Adapted screenplay, he mentioned the movie’s antiwar message and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.