Suddenly there’s a lot of noise around Edward Berger’s WWI epic, No news from the Western Front.
The Netflix drama — the first-ever German adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s German anti-war classic — garnered nine Oscar nominations on Tuesday, nearly setting the record for the most nominations ever 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 Rome fared even better, with 10 nominations each. Crouched Tiger would go on to win four Oscars Romanies three.
All quiet blew past the most recent international success story, Bong Joon Ho’s groundbreaking Korean thriller Parasitewhich in 2021 broke a 91-year tradition of becoming the first-ever non-English film to win the Best Picture Oscar, but garnered “only” six Oscar nominations.
No news from the Western Front was the only non-English language film to make this year’s list of 10 Best Picture nominees. In addition to the expected nomination for Best International Feature Film — a category in which the German film now clearly appears to be the leader — All quiet received support from all members of the Academy, 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 won an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for their take on Remarque’s novel.
The number of nominations even exceeds that of Lewis Milestone No news from the Western Frontthe 1930 English-language adaptation, which received four Academy Award nominations 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 film, now the streamer’s top Oscar nominee. Just last week, the BAFTAs gave their seal of approval, with No news from the Western Front leads the pack with 14 nominations.
The film’s epic scope and grand visual storytelling clearly appealed to the technical side of the Academy, but it’s Berger’s distinct, and arguably distinctly German, approach to the story of an ordinary soldier in the trenches that All quiet part. 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 movie” and somehow heroically depict the battle. Instead with No news from the Western FrontBerger has succeeded in making an epic war film that refuses to romanticize war — an achievement the Academy acknowledged on Tuesday.