Oscars Best Picture nominee profile: ‘Elvis’ serves as a fitting tribute to the King of Rock and Roll

Although legendary musician Elvis Presley has been portrayed on screen numerous times in the 45 years since his death, his full life story had never been given the theatrical film treatment until the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” This artistically bold yet intimately honest depiction of the rock and roll icon’s ever-evolving relationship with his fame is now nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Following the losses of films such as “Ray” (about Ray Charles) and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Freddie Mercury), it would make history as the first singer biopic to conquer the top Oscar category.

Starring Golden Globe and BAFTA Award winner Austin Butler as the titular recording artist, “Elvis” covers the entire quarter century of its subject’s career, according to the recollections of his shifty manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). As the two work together to bolster the singer’s rise to stardom, he quickly begins to experience an unheard of amount of fame that soon takes its toll on his physical and mental health. Of course, through it all, his talent never fades.

Luhrmann, who also co-wrote the screenplay for “Elvis,” shares his Best Picture nomination with four other producers: Oscar winner Catherine Martin (his wife of 26 years) and general first-time nominees Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss. His only previous Best Picture bid came for his third feature, 2001’s “Moulin Rouge!,” which was bested by “A Beautiful Mind.” Martin’s history with the Oscars includes three nominations each for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design that led to dual victories for both “Moulin Rouge!” and 2013’s “The Great Gatsby.”

Martin, who was just honored with a Costume Designers Guild Award for her “Elvis” work, has also achieved academy recognition as the film’s costume and production designer. She shares the latter bid with her frequent collaborators Beverley Dunn (also a winner for “The Great Gatsby”) and Karen Murphy. Her costumes were also feted at this year’s BAFTA Awards, where “Elvis” scored additional wins for Best Makeup and Hair and Best Casting.

The remaining four Oscar categories in which “Elvis” is competing are Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Sound. Included among its sound nominees are past champions David Lee (1999’s “The Matrix”) and Andy Nelson (1998’s “Saving Private Ryan”; 2012’s “Les Misérables”), the latter of whom has extended his lead as the most-recognized sound engineer in academy history by simultaneously adding this and his additional bid for “The Batman” to reach his total of 24. The film’s makeup team includes past “Moulin Rouge!” nominee Aldo Signoretti as well as two-time winner Mark Coulier (2011’s “The Iron Lady”; 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”).

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “Oscar nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2022 Best Picture nominees. 

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