'Wish Lisa Marie was here': Austin Butler opens up on 'bittersweet' first-ever Oscar nomination for 'Elvis'

'Wish Lisa Marie was here': Austin Butler opens up on 'bittersweet' first-ever Oscar nomination for 'Elvis'
Austin Butler says victory would be a 'beautiful way' of celebrating Lisa Marie Presley who died from a cardiac arrest on Thursday, January 12 (Rich Polk/NBC via Getty/Joe Scarnici/ Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: Austin Butler found the announcement of this year's Oscar nomination to be disheartening. The 31-year-old actor awoke Tuesday, January 24, morning to learn that he'd received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis' biopic, an exciting feat he won't be able to share with the rock 'n' roll legend's only child, Lisa Marie Presley, who died on January 12 at the age of 54.

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Butler was reportedly roused from his trance by his publicist and agent's nonstop barrage of calls and anxious texts informing him that the actor had received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. 

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"I was trying to process it and figure out if I was dreaming or not," Butler says to USA Today. Moments later, as he was completing a remote interview on 'Good Morning America', reality sunk in.

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Butler and Luhrmann went to Graceland for a solemn memorial service, but the actor, 31, had to weigh his professional success against the sorrow of Lisa Marie Presley's untimely death, reported MSN.

"It’s been a roller coaster these last couple of weeks, really high highs and these deep valleys of sorrow," says Butler. "A moment like this, it feels joyous but it also feels bittersweet, because I just wish Lisa Marie was here to celebrate with us right now." "But, you know, it's the same way I feel about my mom," says Butler, whose mother died of cancer when he was 23, the same age Elvis' mother Gladys died. He further added, "Days like today, you try and sit with the feeling of honoring them."

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Could winning the Oscar for best actor be another way to honor Lisa Marie? "I’m so humbled and feel so privileged to be listed in the great actors in this category," says Butler. Victory would be "a beautiful way" of celebrating her, but "just going on this journey at all has been the biggest privilege of my life."

Butler spent years training for his role as Elvis Presley in a production that was continually postponed due to the pandemic lockdown and Tom Hanks' early Covid diagnosis. With Colin Farrell ('The Banshees of Inisherin'), Brendan Fraser ('The Whale'), Bill Nighy ('Living'), and Paul Mescal—all of whom are also first-time nominees in the prestigious best actor category—he now finds himself in the privileged group.

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Butler claims to have seen every one of those films and to have a special fondness for 'All Quiet on the Western Front', which received nine Oscar nominations, as well as 'Banshees'. Both came in second place to Michelle Yeoh's multiverse-hopping 'Everything Everywhere All at Once', which received 11 nominations.

People were quick to respond to social media, with one saying, "This boy bout to win an #AcademyAward for playing that man!!! (Deacon Brother) Denzel Washington knows talent. #AustinButler #ElvisMovie #Oscars2023." Another said, "The movie should sweep the oscars in my opinion #AustinButler #ElvisMovie." A third chimed in, "He deserves an Oscar the most in the world. He deserves all the awards in the world for becoming Elvis. He did something unattainable. He did something no one else in the world could do. He became Elvis." A fourth said, "So well deserved, such an amazing performance! I really hope he wins, Lisa will be watching and cheering from above #oscarforaustin"

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