If you knew me, you knew that going into seeing Elvis, I was equal parts excited as I was nervous. I grew up on the King and the days of riding in the car with my dad, and he would blast him, and I would jam along with him. So today, I explore where I think the film could, should and will be in play come Oscar season.
How was the film?
Everyone knows that Baz Luhrmann has a unique style that isn’t for everyone. We saw that with Moulin Rouge! but more so with The Great Gatsby, I like both, but the latter is a masterpiece in filmmaking from top to bottom.
Luhrmann handles the story of one of the most iconic figures in music and entertainment history with grace. Luhrmann did not shy away from having the audience see that Elvis borrowed (well took) some of his aesthetic and music from the Black community. The writer and director also highlights the rise and fall of Elvis beautifully by telling the story with his greatest hits. From Trouble to Hounddog to Suspicious Minds, hit after hit was performed and used to guide you along with Elvis’ story…all while you sit in your seat, swoon and for some, take a trip down memory lane.
Speaking of the King, Austin “he ain’t nothing but a Hound Dog” Butler gave me everything I could have ever wanted from this performance and more. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the screen and thought I was looking at Elvis himself. Butler completely transformed himself in the role. It was not just the vocals he brought; it was the shaking on the stage, the soothing sound of his voice combined with the manner he walked, talked and carried himself. You could feel the pain, the happiness and tears through the screen. You were immersed in the story that Butler was telling us in the role of Elvis. Days later, I am still blown away.
As for the rest of the cast…I will be honest, I was not expecting to even remotely care about Tom Hanks in this film, especially after the manner in which that first trailer utilizes his character. But Hanks was great as Colonel Parker. Parker was a role that we have never really seen from Hanks before. He was the villain of all villains, and it was amazing to see him perfect this role. I was also a massive fan of Olivia DeJonge’s performance as Priscilla. She brought the right amount of energy to play that perfect counterpart to Butler. When the pair were on the screen together, you couldn’t take your eyes off of them.
With the costume design, production design, the make-up, cinematography, the sound and editing, Luhrmann and his crew brought to life this era in ways only they could. I was in awe of what Luhrmann presented to us.
What Nominations Should the Film Contend For?
Okay, let’s be serious for a moment. Honestly, I could see this on the low end getting around 3-4 nominations, with the upward number being around 6-7 and, on a great day, 8-10. But here is where my head is at right now.
Likely: Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design.
Strong Possibility: Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hanks)
Not likely unless all dominos fall in place: Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress (Olivia DeJonge)
It is very early in the season, but we are talking about an iconic character in every sense of the word. Elvis is Elvis and that alone wins points. We are a few years removed from Bohemian Rhapsody, which cleaned up at the Oscars, and even Judy, which we saw the film win for Best Actress and sneak in a Makeup and Hairstyling nomination.
At the end of the day, if I was a betting man (I am), I would say there is a 100% chance that Austin Butler will hear his name on Oscar Nomination morning. The real question is what else will be announced with him that morning, and that we must stay tuned for.