BAFTA rolls out red carpet : " All Quiet on the Western Front '' and 'The Banshees of Inisherin' win big.

London : A gut-wrenching war movie from Germany and pitch-black Irish comedy were the big winners as British cinema handed out its annual BAFTA  awards last Sunday, with less than a month to go to the Oscars.

With 14 nods, German director Edward Berger's All Quiet on the Western Front started the night as the most-nominated foreign language film in the BAFTA academy's 76-year history.

The Netflix drama triumphed with seven awards, including best film and best director for Berger, as well as original score and cinematography, in the buildup to the Academy Awards on March 12.

Berger credited his daughter Matilda for turning his ''doubts into trust'', after she told him he had to make a movie of Erich Maria Remarque's powerful 1929 novel, which she was reading in school.

Producer Malte Grunert said the British plaudits for a German language film were ''just incredible'', and it has also amassed nine Oscar nominations.

With a nod to modern-day conflicts including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he said that the film and novel showed that ''war is anything but an adventure.''

The German movie had tied with Ang Lee's martial arts drama  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, co-starring Michelle Yeoh, which also earned 14 BAFTA nominations in 2001.

Yeoh was nominated for best actor this year as a worn-down laundromat owner who transforms into a high kicking heroine, in the wildly inventive Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Yeoh's kung-fun science-fiction film received 10 BAFTA nominations, but only won one for editing. She lost out to Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of a troubled classical music conductor in Tar.

'' This is extraordinary. I didn't prepare anything [ to say ] because it's been such an extraordinary year for women,'' the Australian actor said, convinced that the award would go to one of her fellow nominees.

Making sadness fun

Also on 10 nominations, but faring far better in London, was the Irish tragicomedy The Banshees of Inisherin co-starring Colin Farrell and Brandan Gleeson.

Its four wins included best supporting actor for Barry Keoghan and best supporting female actor for Kerry  -who was at first was not given not given the prize after a miscommunication on stage.

Banshees director Martin McDonagh, one of the rare UK nominees for this year's top gongs, won Best British film despite the heavily Irish profile of Banshees and best original screenplay.
'' Making a sad film shouldn't be so much fun,'' he said.

Beating out the favourite Farrell, actor Austin Butler won the leading actor prize for his all-out portrayal of the king of rock and roll in Elvis.

'' This means the world to me,'' Butler told the ceremony, still using the Presley drawl that he learned for Baz Luhrmann's movie.
Blue ribbons

BAFTA also faced criticism for overlooking women. 

Only one Gina Prince-Bythewood, was nominated for best director for The Woman King. That was one more than the Oscars managed in that category this year.

Berger, Farrell, Blanchett and Jamie Lee Curtis were among many attendees who wore blue ribbons on their suits and gowns in support of refugees.

The gesture came after many more people were displaced by earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia's war in Ukraine. [Reuters]


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