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There’s suddenly a lot of noise around Edward Berger’s WWI epic, All Quiet on the Western Front.
The Netflix drama — the first-ever German adaptation of the Erich Maria Remarque’s German anti-war classic — picked up nine Oscar nominations Tuesday, nearly tying the record for most-ever nominations for a non-English-language film.
Only Ang Lee’s wuxia classic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white Mexican drama Roma did it one better, with 10 nominations apiece. Crouching Tiger would eventually win four Oscars to Roma’s three.
All Quiet blew past the most recent international success story, Bong Joon Ho’s groundbreaking Korean thriller Parasite, which in 2021 smashed a 91-year-old tradition to become the first-ever non-English film to win the Oscar for best picture, but picked up “only” six Oscar noms.
All Quiet on the Western Front was the only non-English-language movie to make this year’s list of 10 nominees for best picture. In addition to the expected nomination for best international feature — a category for which the German film would now seem to be clear frontrunner — All Quiet got support from across the Academy membership, with nominations for best cinematography, best sound, best production design, best visual effects, best hair and makeup and best original score. Berger, along with co-writers Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, also picked up an Oscar nom for best adapted screenplay for their take on Remarque’s novel.
The nomination haul even outpaces that of Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front, the 1930 English-language adaptation, which got four Academy Award noms, and won two, including best picture.
Support for Berger’s film has grown steadily since its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and Netflix has thrown the full weight of its marketing power behind the movie, now the streamer’s best Oscar prospect. Just last week, the BAFTAs gave their seal of approval, with All Quiet on the Western Front leading the pack with 14 nominations.
The film’s epic sweep and grand visual storytelling obviously appealed to the technical side of the Academy, but it is Berger’s distinct, and arguably distinctly German, approach to the story of an ordinary solider in the trenches that sets All Quiet apart. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Berger noted that, given the history of Nazism, it was impossible to shoot a war movie “like an action film” and to portray battle as somehow heroic. Instead, with All Quiet on the Western Front, Berger has managed to create an epic war movie that refuses to romanticize war — an achievement the Academy recognized Tuesday.
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