Banshees wins best British film, and director Martin McDonagh explains that though it is Irish-made with Irish cast and crew, it is funded by Film4
By Donald Clarke
Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin has won four Baftas – British Academy Awards – during a glossy, if occasionally ramshackle, ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Kerry Condon, from Tipperary, and Barry Keoghan, from Dublin, took the prizes for, respectively, best supporting actress and best supporting actor. Banshees also took best British film and best original screenplay.
But, in a surprise, Austin Butler beat Colin Farrell to best actor for his turn as the king of rock ‘n’ roll in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. The biggest winner of the evening was, however, Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front. The adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel topped the Bafta charts with seven gongs, including wins in best picture and best director.
The wind looked set fair for Banshees when, in one of the first awards of the evening, Condon shuffled past the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Angela Bassett to grab her first Bafta. That was a mild surprise.
Oddsmakers were still more taken aback by Keoghan beating out Ke Huy Quan, a huge favourite at the Oscars, for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Condon acknowledged the late Alan Parker, who gave her an early film role in Angela’s Ashes. “I have to thank my family in Ireland,” she said. “They were always at the other end of the phone for me all through the years… And I have to thank my horses and my dogs because they showed me so much love and gave me so much meaning in my life.”
Audiences watching on the delayed TV broadcast did not see the awkward moment when Carey Mulligan was wrongly announced as the winner over Condon. The mistake was quickly corrected, but this was an embarrassing moment for the British Academy. Interviewing Condon backstage, Alison Hammond, co-presenting with Richard E Grant, did not even mention the incident.
Keoghan, who received an ecstatic response from the audience, acknowledged his late mother and those from north inner-city Dublin seeking to follow in his footsteps. He noted “the kids dreaming to be something from the area that I came from. This is for youse.”
Most pundits would have seen Farrell as a more likely winner than either of the two supporting players in Banshees. The team will be happy with the unexpected wins, but disappointed they could not convert in best actor and best film.
McDonagh confirmed he was a smooth performer at the lectern with a brace of witty speeches. “Thank you Bafta for this British film award,” he said. “I know every Irish person in the cast and crew were kind of going ‘best what?’ But the wonderful Film4 were a big part of financing this… Thanks to Rosie our stand-in donkey, who is British. She’s from Stoke-on-Trent.”
Colm Bairéad’s delicate An Cailín Ciúin, on a sensational run since its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival a year ago, lost out to the all-conquering All Quiet on the Western Front in two categories. Berger’s epic beat the Irish-language film to both best adapted screenplay and best film not in English. An Cailín Ciúin now goes on to compete for best international film at the Academy Awards.
There was Irish success elsewhere. Richard Baneham from Tallaght, already an Oscar winner, was among the team taking the best visual effects prize for Avatar: The Way of Water. He was first on stage to thank the audience in Irish.
Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s An Irish Goodbye, a delightful Northern Irish comedy concerning brothers squabbling after their mother’s death, won best British short and now looks like a decent favourite for an Oscar. “If we forgot to thank our mums there would not be any tea on the table,” Berkeley joked.
There were no surprises in best actress with Cate Blanchett continuing her triumphant run for playing a troubled, mendacious conductor in Todd Field’s much-admired TÁR.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts and their American equivalent, which decides the Oscars, share a significant number of voting members. These results can thus give reliable pointers to the awards that matter most. To this point, best actor was seen as a three-horse race between Farrell, Butler and Brendan Fraser for The Whale.
Notwithstanding McDonagh’s dry remarks about the cross-national nature of The Banshees of Inisherin, the team will have seen Bafta as something of a home event. Farrell does seem to have lost ground to a fast-rising Butler. Oscar watchers will now turn their eyes to the Screen Actors Guild awards next weekend.
If Butler wins there, the game may be up.
BEST FILM: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Malte Grunert.
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin.
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER: AFTERSUN, Charlotte Wells (Writer/Director)
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Edward Berger, Malte Grunert.
DOCUMENTARY: NAVALNY, Daniel Roher, Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, Odessa Rae
ANIMATED FILM: GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar, Alex Bulkley.
DIRECTOR: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Edward Berger.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, Martin McDonagh.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell.
LEADING ACTRESS: CATE BLANCHETT, Tár.
LEADING ACTOR: AUSTIN BUTLER, Elvis.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: KERRY CONDON, The Banshees of Inisherin.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: BARRY KEOGHAN, The Banshees of Inisherin.
ORIGINAL SCORE: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Volker Bertelmann.
CASTING: ELVIS, Nikki Barrett, Denise Chamian.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, James Friend.
EDITING: EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Paul Rogers.
PRODUCTION DESIGN: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Christian M Goldbeck, Ernestine Hipper.
COSTUME DESIGN: ELVIS, Catherine Martin.
MAKE UP & HAIR: ELVIS, Jason Baird, Mark Coulier, Louise Coulston, Shane Thomas.
SOUND: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Lars Ginzel, Frank Kruse, Viktor Prášil, Markus Stemler.
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, Richard Baneham, Daniel Barrett, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon.
BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION: THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE, Peter Baynton, Charlie Mackesy, Cara Speller, Hannah Minghella.
BRITISH SHORT FILM: AN IRISH GOODBYE, Tom Berkeley, Ross White.
EE RISING STAR AWARD: EMMA MACKEY.
Source: Baftas 2023: Banshees of Inisherin wins four awards – but Colin Farrell is beaten to best actor