All Quiet on the Western Front was anything but quiet at yesterday’s BAFTA Awards, winning seven trophies total including Best Film, where it upset supposed Oscar frontrunners Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin. And now the question is… what does all this mean for the Oscars?
The answer lies somewhere in between “everything” and “nothing.” Do I think we should copy these wins over to our Oscar predictions ASAP? Not at all. But do I think we should disregard them entirely as “a BAFTA thing”? No, I wouldn’t say that either. It’s been clear for awhile that All Quiet had support brewing beneath the surface of awards season simply based on how well it did on the Oscar shortlists and the BAFTA longlists, so we can’t be too surprised that that support materialized into several wins for it as well, though the main reason I wouldn’t say we should regard these results as “scripture” is because it’s also clear that the BAFTAs did like the film ever-so-slightly more than AMPAS (giving it nominations for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Costume Design, and Best Editing that The Academy did not). The one thing that’s never been in debate? All Quiet on the Western Front is winning Best International Feature Film in a walk.
In my opinion, the next likeliest award for the film will be in Best Cinematography, even though its ASC snub looms large. No matter though, given that it just recently beat ASC nominees The Batman and Elvis at the BSC Awards (along with Oscar nominee TÁR) and won yesterday’s BAFTA Award in this same category. Elvis had been held up as its closest competition after presumed frontrunner Top Gun: Maverick was snubbed entirely, and unless Elvis manages to win ASC (where the Oscar-nomination-less Top Gun is still contending and could very well win), I think All Quiet fits the mold of a conventional winner here a whole lot better and already has the trophies and triumphs to back its case up.
After that… I do think its victory in the BAFTAs’ Best Adapted Screenplay category doesn’t bode well for Women Talking at the Oscars, which had been said to be in the lead all season long until it started stumbling at industry precursors. Sure, it does have the Critics Choice Award under its belt, but All Quiet has the industry award. And while Women Talking could still take the WGA, All Quiet was ineligible there, so is it really a fair fight? (Though, you could say the same for BAFTA, since Women Talking wasn’t even nominated, but it wasn’t ineligible – it just simply didn’t get enough votes). The bottom line is that this might come down to which Best Picture nominee is more popular – and with All Quiet netting nine Oscar nominations (and now these seven BAFTA wins) compared to Women Talking‘s two, I’d be a little worried.
As for All Quiet‘s Best Original Score and Best Sound wins? I’m more iffy on those two translating, though I do think Score stands a better chance of repeating. Right now, three different precursors have awarded three different films in that category: the Golden Globe went to Babylon, the Critics Choice Award went to the non-Oscar-nominated TÁR, and the BAFTA went to All Quiet. I think All Quiet‘s win here could be attributed to BAFTA’s obscene love for the film, but it is the only “industry” award in this bunch and should be weighed more heavily because of that. And now that Babylon is looking more and more like our Best Production Design winner after its back-to-back ADG and BAFTA wins, are we really about to predict a non-Best Picture nominee to win two of its three Oscar nominations? Babylon does objectively feel like the most “distinctive” score of this bunch, while All Quiet is more experimental and unconventional, but I’m not ruling out it winning again.
As for Best Sound, while it made sense for All Quiet to upset Top Gun here (the latter wasn’t loved by BAFTA, earning only four nominations and no wins), this remains the best place to recognize Top Gun at the Oscars (especially since Everything Everywhere All at Once is pulling ahead in the Best Editing race following its Critics Choice and BAFTA victories), and I highly doubt The Academy will miss that opportunity – though this makes All Quiet its main challenger undoubtedly, as if it already wasn’t.
And now let’s move on to the big two: Best Film and Best Director. Obviously, Edward Berger isn’t a threat to win Best Director at the Oscars since he isn’t even nominated, but does all this All Quiet love push it higher in the Best Picture race? Absolutely, though I would still say that, due to their strength in the acting and writing races (two of the most influential races for deciding Best Picture winners these days), the trophy will still come down to Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin, with All Quiet likely sitting pretty at #3 based on the number of nominations it received and the number of trophies it could pick up, to say nothing of everything we’ve discussed above that just transpired at the BAFTAs.
Most of all, I think that All Quiet‘s domination at the BAFTAs and victory in the Best Film category is the best possible news for Everything Everywhere All at Once more than any other film. Sure, it hit a bit of a bump here by only winning one award (Best Editing), but it was coming off a far more important DGA victory for the Daniels, and it still remains competitive in both the Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay races despite losing both here to Banshees (it’ll bounce back at SAG and WGA). If Banshees really posed a chance at upsetting EEAAO in Best Picture, I think it needed to win Best Film here over All Quiet. And since it couldn’t even do that, it seems more likely to me that both end up behind EEAAO, with no one clear challenger emerging for it yet that has the right “win package” at this point – no matter how much the BAFTAs loved All Quiet.