Netflix’s wartime epic All Quiet On The Western Front leads the 2023 BAFTA film awards with what new BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip described as an “extraordinary” haul of nominations across craft and performance categories.
The German-language film nabbed 14 nominations, the most BAFTA noms for an individual film since The King’s Speech in 2011, which also had 14.
Millichip, who this year oversees her first Film Awards as BAFTA CEO, said the film’s success represents the “mesmerizing” range of this year’s nominations as well as the films that can now be embraced by BAFTA voters.
“I think that the breadth of storytelling is really interesting,” Millichip said. “So you have big commercial films like Elvis, which has nine nominations, and then indie films like Aftersun. There is also 40% ethnic diversity in our nominees.”
All Quiet’s haul also matches the previous record set by Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for the most nominations for a non-English language film in BAFTA history, a record that Millichip said marks a distinct shift in the taste of BAFTAs voting body and the influence of streaming on audience viewership.
“The voting members now have no aversion to film not in the English language,” she said. “I think that’s really interesting and something that you probably see mirrored in streaming viewing as well.”
One of the headline takeaways from this year’s nominations list is the amount of diversity in the performance categories. In the leading actress race, Viola Davis picked up her fourth BAFTA nomination for The Woman King, newcomer Danielle Deadwyler is in for Till, and Michelle Yeoh clocked her first BAFTA nomination in 22 years since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon for Everything Everywhere All At Once.
In the past, BAFTA’s acting noms have been the subject of controversy due to a lack of racial diversity. In 2021 all 20 of the acting BAFTA nominees were white. Since then, the awards body has implemented vast structural changes, which Millichip said have had a direct impact on this year’s nominations.
“When the changes were made in our voting process, the most important thing was to increase the number of films viewed and considered by each voting member,” she said. “So that simple change has really delivered a lot more diversity and breadth in the films that could go through to the longlist. And then once you get to the longlist, all of the jurors have to watch all of the longlisted films. So at that point, they fill in the gaps.”
In notable snubs, Steven Spielberg’s latest pic, The Fabelmans, only clocked one BAFTA nom for Best Screenplay after picking up Best Director and Best Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes last week.
“It’s important to note that Spielberg has a nomination for screenplay for what is a deeply personal film. So I hope that he’s pleased. It’s a very important nomination,” Millichip said. “Our members vote for what they want to win, and what they’d like to see, so our nominations reflect their preference, and yeah, you have some really interesting results.”
Winners in all categories will be announced at the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards ceremony, hosted by actor Richard E. Grant on February 19 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London. This will be the first time the BAFTAs will be held at the Royal Festival Hall.
Also new this year, the ceremony will culminate in a live broadcast of the final four categories for the first time in BAFTA history. In previous years, the event has been pre-recorded and broadcast with a delay.
Speaking about the updated show, Emma Baehr, BAFTA Executive Director, Awards & Content, said: “There will be slight changes within the format. You’re gonna see more entertainment and a faster pace. There are a few surprises coming in, which obviously, we’re not gonna unveil today. But it’s more refreshed, so tune in.”