LONDON – Visceral German-language war drama “All Quiet on the Western Front” got a field-leading 14 nominations on Thursday for the British Academy Film Awards, with genre-bending comedies “The Banshees of Inisherin“ and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” each nominated in 10 categories.
“All Quiet,” an unflinching adaptation of a classic antiwar novel about life and death in the World War I trenches, was a surprise front-runner, up for awards including best film and best director, for Edward Berger. Its tally of nominations is a joint record for a film not in the English language, equaling the 14 for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in 2001.
Berger said the film’s team was “speechless and overwhelmed” by the raft of nominations.
Felix Kammerer, who plays the film's central character, Paul, said the film's tragic relevance to today had struck a chord with audiences.
“We see a lot of reaction by people who tell us it’s so jarring to see ... images from Ukraine, and to see the images in this movie. And they are hardly distinguishable," he told The Associated Press.
“What stays the same, like 100 years ago, is the horror and the brutality.”
Martin McDonagh’s Irish tragicomedy “Banshees” has nominations including best picture, best director and best actor, for Colin Farrell. Nominations for madcap metaverse adventure “Everything Everywhere” include nods for co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — known jointly as “the Daniels” — and a best-actress nomination for Michelle Yeoh.
Baz Lurhmann’s flamboyant musical biopic “Elvis” is up for nine awards, including best picture.
The BAFTAs are Britain’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Academy Awards. The winners will be announced Feb. 19 during a ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall hosted by actor Richard E. Grant.
The nominations help cement “Banshees” and “Everything Everywhere” as awards-season favorites, following momentum-building wins at the Golden Globes and multiple nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards,
The BAFTA best-picture nominees are “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Todd Field’s symphonic psychodrama “Tár.”
The 10 nominees for outstanding British film, a separate category, include Charlotte Wells’ 1990s family drama “Aftersun,” Sam Mendes’ semi-autobiographical “Empire of Light” and Sophie Hyde’s smart sex comedy “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.”
Britain’s film academy introduced changes to increase the awards’ diversity in 2020, when no women were nominated as best director for the seventh year running and all 20 nominees in the lead and supporting performer categories were white.
The voting process was rejigged to add a “longlist” round in the voting before the selection of the final nominees that are voted on by the academy membership of several thousand industry professionals. For the best film prize, academy members choose a 15-film longlist that all members must watch before voting for the winner.
This year there are 11 female directors up for awards across all categories, including documentary and animated films. But just one of the main best-director nominees is female: Gina Prince-Bythewood for “The Woman King.” The other nominees are Berger, McDonagh, Kwan/Scheinert, Field and Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, for “Decision to Leave.”
Unlike some awards, including U.K. music prizes the Brits, the BAFTAs have retained separate male and female acting categories, though that is under review.
Leading actress contenders are Yeoh; Cate Blanchett for “Tár”: Viola Davis for “The Woman King”; Danielle Deadwyler for “Till”; Ana de Armas for “Blonde” and Emma Thompson for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.”
The best-actor category pits Farrell against Austin Butler for “Elvis”; Brendan Fraser for “The Whale”; Daryl McCormack for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” Paul Mescal for “Aftersun” and Bill Nighy for “Living.”
“I kind of love that half of them are Irish – myself, Colin and Paul,” said McCormack, who is nominated for his role as a sex worker in “Leo Grande.”
This is a strong year for Irish talent at the BAFTAs, with Brendan Gleeson. Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon all getting acting nominations in the supporting performer categories.
McCormack, who made a splash last year in the TV series “Bad Sisters,” is also up for the BAFTA Rising Star award alongside actors Aimee Lou Wood, Daryl McCormack, Emma Mackey, Naomi Ackie and Sheila Atim.
Associated Press video journalist Hilary Fox contributed to this story.