Monday Movie: Oscar’s loss. Austin Butler wins
Two weeks on from the Oscars and my fellow counsel and advocates are still coming up to me, at court, after hearings, to say “Austin Butler was robbed, wasn’t he?”
Usually, on the Monday after the Oscars, most say “so, it was the Oscars last night,” suggesting the event had not been on their radar until they’d woken up to a barrage of media coverage about it and thought they’d raise it with me as small talk.
This year, though, film fans across the board were invested in the Oscars. They had seen some of the films, been blown away by the performances and expected to see them win. The Oscars rewards the best, right.
Many were then surprised and disappointed with what happened.
But Austin fans and fans of his work in Elvis, chin up. Look on the bright side:
1. An Oscar guarantees small films that didn’t do well at the box office, an extra audience for a month or two after the ceremony. People go to see it out of curiosity, to understand why the academy favoured it. By contrast, Elvis (a box office success) will be watched a year, 10 years from now. It will be watched for as long as people know about Elvis. And people will know about Elvis for as long as they listen to music. As John Lennon famously said, “Before Elvis there was nothing.” His cultural impact is everywhere. From fashion styles, to movies to stage shows -Danny in the musical Grease for one, from front men of famous bands like Freddie Mercury of Queen, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, Brandon Flowers of The Killers to Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson and Harry Styles. His influence will continue.
2. And for as long as people watch the film, they will see Austin Butler‘s performance. What’s more, most people who watch it, in years to come, will assume he won the Oscar. It’s that kind of electrifying performance.
3. Austin’s career is now in the stratosphere that he could only have dreamed of just a few short years ago. Although talented, hard-working and cine -literate Butler was not getting the kind of role in the kind of films he wanted. His all American good looks and easy manner meant he was usually cast as the eye candy love interest in teen films (long after he was a teen himself). He wasn’t able to flex his acting muscles. He was sufficiently disheartened at one point to wonder if his future even lay in acting. Instead, with one starmaking turn he has now joined the handful of young, actors looking to replace the likes of DiCaprio, Pitt, Cruise, Depp – actors who can look good on the cover of a magazine but can also bring the acting talent on screen. Butler has the added advantage that, although he looks ‘current’, he also can hark back to classic Hollywood leading men. His appearance at Cannes to premiere Elvis in May 2022 was inspired by Paul Newman and a young Marlon Brando on the riviera. It was a striking amalgamation of the old and the new.
4. He can now be an inspiration himself to young actors. Many may not know that when director, Baz Luhrmann first announced his Elvis project, it was widely reported that Leonardo DiCaprio would play music’s biggest icon. Fast forward several years, and Luhrmann cast the relative unknown in the role of a lifetime. Austin Butler grabbed the opportunity with both hands and ran with it. He brought an extraordinary work ethic to this great opportunity has been given. That has to be inspiring to others in this horrible era of victimhood where people want everything for nothing.
5. Austin Butler‘s name is now on Oscar’s radar. If and when he does win his golden statuette, it will be a clean sweep across awards season and he will receive the standing ovation that he might not have done this year. Part of the audience acclaim then will be a acknowledgement that maybe they didn’t quite get it right up in 2023!?