With a whopping 14 nominations, Edward Berger’s film of All Quiet on the Western Front had the most to lose at last night’s BAFTA Film Awards. But the German production left the Royal Festival Hall with its head held high, scooping seven of the coveted mask trophies – including the top prize, Best Film.


One of its seven awards was for Original Score, awarded to German composer Volker Bertelmann, who underlined the unrelenting World War One drama with an intense, contemporary palette of sounds – including a memorably oppressive three-note motif.

It marks Bertelmann’s first BAFTA win, following a prior nomination at the 2017 awards for his score for Lion, a nomination he shared with Dustin O’Halloran. His sights will be set on the Oscar next; his was one of the names included in the recent Oscar nominees announcement. The winners of the US Academy Awards will be revealed on Sunday 19 March.

The win is sure to be a career boon for the composer, who also performs his own expressionist piano works under the name Hauschka. That said, his rise on screen has been steady and impressive with a slew of impactful scores, including those for Hotel Mumbai, Summerland, Ammonite (with Dustin O’Halloran) and The Current War (with Dustin O’Halloran). On the small screen he has written music for the likes of Patrick Melrose, Life After Life and Barbarians.

The other notable gong of the night was that for Leading Actress, awarded to Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of the fictional conductor-composer Lydia Tár. Blanchett's performance in Todd Field's gripping Tár has been creating an awards buzz for months.

In an emotional acceptance speech, the actor revealed just how much the role had taken out of her and thanked writer/director Field, saying the experience had changed her life. The role saw her actually conduct the Dresden Philharmonic and play the piano on screen. Read our interview with Cate Blanchett to learn more.


All Quite on the Western Front is available to watch now on Netflix, with Volker Bertelmann’s music available to stream from the usual places. Tár is showing in select cinemas now and will be available on DVD/Blu-ray in June in the UK.


Michael BeekReviews Editor, BBC Music Magazine

Michael is the Reviews Editor of BBC Music Magazine. He was previously a freelance film music journalist and spent 15 years at St George's Bristol. Michael specialises in film and television music and was the Editor of MusicfromtheMovies.com. He has written for the BBC Proms, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood in Vienna and Silva Screen Records.