Elvis trailer breakdown – 5 trailer moments that scream Oscars 2022 frontrunner

This summer's Elvis is set to bring us the definitive movie iteration of Elvis Presley's life story.

A constellation of new and established stars, plus a truly singular director, fuses with the profound weight of pop culture history. It hardly needs to be said that Presley's rise and fall encapsulate the best and the worst that the 20th century had to offer.

However, as they say, it's the journey, not the destination, that counts. And what a journey it is as we trace Presley from gospel-loving Mississippi kid to hip-shaking, rock and roll colossus.

The new Elvis trailer has landed and we're already earmarking it as an Oscars frontrunner. Here's why.

1. Austin Butler for Best Actor

Why hide your greatest special effect? Butler's performance as The King looks to possess more vibrancy and vitality than the glitziest CGI and for this reason, he's pleasingly foregrounded from the opening seconds of the Elvis trailer.

This is a work of pure physical transformation, starting with what we can perceive from the voice and the stance. The downturned lip, the drawl, the windmilling arms and the hips all look to add to a sensational portrayal.

That said, this is a movie that is destined to take a melancholic turn as Presley grapples with intense isolation when at the height of his fame. No doubt Butler's skills as an actor, as well as an impressionist, will be tested to the max.

We're calling it: Austin Butler to lead the Oscars 2022 Best Actor race. Elvis Presley's widow Priscilla has already declared Butler to be worthy of an Oscar, so watch this space.

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in Elvis trailer

2. Baz Luhrmann for Best Director

Baz Luhrmann doesn't really do subtlety, but the outsized parameters of Elvis Presley's life story will no doubt fit perfectly with the filmmaker's aesthetic.

Luhrmann's whip-crack editing style and penchant for oversaturated cinematography gives his narratives a somewhat overwrought, overcooked feel.

His style has been deployed in Shakespeare adaptations (Romeo + Juliet), F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptations (The Great Gatsby) and musicals (Moulin Rouge!). His sense of energy will surely plug us into Presley's kinetic stage persona, before presumably stripping it away as we approach the tragic end game.

Elvis movie directed by Baz Luhrmann

3. Tom Hanks for Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks doesn't need any more love from the Oscars. He's already claimed two (for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump) and has been nominated an additional four times. However, Hanks invariably draws Academy Awards attention, such is the consistency of his output and the dedication to his craft.

In Elvis, Hanks plays Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the Machiavellian figure who transforms Presley into a star before revealing his truly manipulative colours. The opportunity to watch Hanks playing the 'bad guy', such as he is, will make for an interesting experiment in and of itself.

Hanks' last Oscar nomination was, in fact, quite a while ago: it was for Cast Away, released in 2000. In Elvis, he's set to be the backroom player, but a memorable one, so we're sensing a Best Supporting Actor nom in the making.

Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in the Elvis movie trailer

4. Mandy Walker for Best Cinematography

Australian DP Mandy Walker boasts an enviable track record of movie hits, including the acclaimed Hidden Figures. She also lensed Baz Luhrmann's operatically romantic Australia, bringing a real sense of sweep and scale to the vistas of the Aussie Outback.

Elvis provides Walker with plenty of opportunities for visually striking imagery, not least in the live concert sequences that are set to dazzle with their flashbulbs, sweat and eye-popping costumes. 

Walker's previous collaboration with Luhrmann utilised primary colours to an almost parodic degree, embalming us in the feel of old-school melodrama. Given their track record, we're anticipating the same visually riotous impact from Elvis.

Elvis movie cinematographer Mandy Walker

5. Catherine Martin for Best Costume Design

Catherine Martin is not only the film's primary costume designer and co-production designer. She's also Luhrmann's partner and has been since 1997.

One imagines that the closeness and intimacy of their collaboration places a greater amount of emphasis on the importance of costuming as a narrative device. And what better gift than the dramatic life story of Elvis Presley?

Judging from the trailer, Martin has sunk her teeth into the glittering roster of Presley's stage outfits, including that memorably contoured white jumpsuit that he sported from 1970 onwards.

This has to be in the running for the Best Costume Design Oscar, right?

Elvis movie costume designer Catherine Martin


Elvis is released in Cineworld cinemas on June 24th. Are you also declaring it as a frontrunner for next year's Oscars? Let us know @Cineworld.