Award season, we’re in it now, in the thick of it as everyone jockeys for position. Oscar nomination voting begins in exactly a month today, on January 12, and there are tight races across the board, which means everyone is out on the campaign trail.
For Austin Butler and Elvis though, the campaign strategy was to keep his presence to a minimum during the early part of the season. He wasn’t out at every event through the fall, he wasn’t out here thirsting openly for an invitation to the party – and it was a smart play to keep it restrained, since he’s the youngest legitimate best actor contender in the field right now and he doesn’t need to be turning off old-timey voters with any perceived desperation.
It's time though, it’s time now for Austin to be making his move. The Golden Globe nominations were just announced this morning (Sarah will have that post coming soon) and Austin made it in as one of the five nominees for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Elvis was also nominated in the Motion Picture Drama category but perhaps more importantly, Elvis was included on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of Top 10 movies and as Deadline points out, the “AFI list is important in that it also tends to mirror the eventual list of (now) 10 Best Picture Oscar nominees. Last year for instance, eight of the 10 went on to Best Picture Oscar nominations.”
Austin and Elvis, then, are in a promising position right now for Oscar consideration. There’s no way Elvis will actually win Best Picture but the goal for the film’s campaign is to be there on Oscar night with several nominations, perhaps even one for Baz Luhrmann for Best Director. He and Austin are the primary ambassadors for the film which is why it’s key to get Austin out there now when voters are paying attention.
And Austin is stepping into the spotlight in a big way this week as it was announced on Saturday that he will host the final episode of SNL of 2022 with musical guest Lizzo.
That’s Austin jumping right into the heat. It’s an opportunity to showcase what he can do in a live sketch format. It’s an opportunity to score likeability points. And it’s an opportunity to not take himself too seriously. Young actors on the Oscar circuit are often compelled to perform gravitas, to talk repeatedly about the “craft” and the commitment and the struggle. No doubt, Austin has engaged in some of that in how he’s explained what it took to become Elvis Presley but that’s all the more reason to do SNL, to get silly, to loosen up, shake off that I Am A Thespian energy and just enjoy the ride of it, because the ride is fun. Reminds me of Andrew Garfield last year who coasted through award season, knowing he wasn’t a favourite, just happy to be part of the process, and having the best time.
Hopefully it can be the same for Austin. He was already in New York this weekend, seen at the SNL after-party on Saturday, arriving early to prepare for his week and really soak in as much of the experience as he can.
As for whether or not he and Kaia Gerber are still together, last week he was seen at the Celine show with her family so the answer is, undoubtedly, yes.