Elvis movie: awards, how to watch and all we know about Baz Luhrmann’s biopic of The King

Austin Butler as Elvis in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “ELVIS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
(Image credit: Warner Bros/Trent Mitchell)

The enticing combination of showman director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet) covering the life of the showman-extraordinaire singer/actor Elvis Presley made the new musical biopic Elvis, one of our most-anticipated new movies of 2022.

From the moment that filming finished, we've been waiting on the hints and clips that Luhrmann shares on his social media channels, to get our fix of Elvis news. Fortunately, there's been plenty forthcoming — from the tantalizing glimpses of the film shown in the ‘first-look’ clip, the behind-the-scenes photos, the soundtrack reveals and comments shared by Luhrmann and some of the cast, more recently. All of which add up to a cinematic spectacle that we now know is pretty special.

Austin Butler, as Elvis Presley, has blasted out of the traps with a spectacular performance that evokes everything an Elvis fan (hands up) could have hoped for. Elvis the film has suffered from mixed critic reviews (our own review gave Elvis 3.5 stars and called it a hugely enjoyable yet flawed portrait) but it's definitely a hit with audiences, currently scoring 94% "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.

How to watch Elvis the movie

Elvis was released, worldwide, in theaters, on June 24, 2022, and, just like Top Gun: Maverick, this larger-than-life film spectacle is absolutely one to try and catch on the big screen. 

But, if you prefer to watch your films at home we've got a full guide to how to watch Elvis, including where to stream or rent the film in the US and the UK.

Elvis awards and nominations

Here are the awards and nominations that Elvis has earned to date.

Academy Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Actor — Austin Butler (nominee)
  • Best Cinematography (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Editing (nominee)
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Sound (nominee)

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Film (nominee)
  • Best Actor — Austin Butler (nominee)
  • Best Casting (nominee)
  • Best Cinematography (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Editing (nominee)
  • Best Make Up & Hair (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Sound (nominee)

Golden Globes

  • Best Picture: Drama (nominee)
  • Best Actor: Drama — Austin Butler (nominee)
  • Best Director — Baz Luhrmann (nominee)

Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Actor — Austin Butler (nominee)
  • Best Director — Baz Luhrmann (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Editing (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Hair and Makeup (nominee)

London Critics Circle Awards

  • Actor of the Year — Austin Butler (nominee)
  • Technical Achievement Award

Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts

  • Best Film (winner)
  • Best Direction in Film — Baz Luhrmann (winner)
  • Best Lead Actor in Film — Austin Butler (winner)
  • Best Supporting Actress in Film — Olivia DeJonge (winner)
  • Best Supporting Actor in Film — Tom Hanks (nominee)
  • Best Screenplay in Film (nominee)
  • Best casting (nominee)
  • Best Cinematography in Film (winner)
  • Best Costume Design in Film (winner)
  • Best Editing in Film (winner)
  • Best Hair and Makeup (winner)
  • Best Original Score (nominee)
  • Best Production Design in Film (winner)
  • Best Sound in Film (winner)
  • Best Visual Effects or Animation (winner)

American Film Institute

  • AFI Movie of the Year

Hollywood Critics Association Creative Awards

  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Hair and Makeup (nominee)
  • Best Original Song — "Vegas" by Doja Cat (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)

People's Choice Awards

  • Drama Movie Star — Austin Butler (winner)
  • The Movie of 2022 (nominee)
  • The Drama movie of 2022 (nominee)

Elvis plot

Director Baz Luhrmann has made it clear that this isn't a straightforward biopic. Instead, it uses the Elvis story to explore cultural aspects of American life. In an interview with Deadline, Luhrmann says “I’m not about lionizing Elvis. I just saw him as the best canvas on which to explore America in the modern age, the 50s, 60s and 70s”. 

The story is told from the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) — Elvis' real-life, rather shady, manager — taking on the mantle of unscrupulous puppetmaster. 

We see Elvis as a child from the poor side of town in Memphis, Tennessee already beginning to identify with the music and rhythms of Black Gospel music and the Blues singers who visit the local bars. The film covers his rise to fame in the 50s and the adoration the audience has for this unusual young man with "suggestive" dance moves (hip thrusts galore), stage presence, raw sex appeal and the voice of an angel. 

Elvis the movie takes in his time in the Army, his marriage to Priscilla Presley (then Priscilla Beaulieu) and his years in the movies as a leather-jacketed Hollywood heartthrob, before his big 1968 televised comeback concert. That concert launched the next phase of Elvis' career — 1970s rhinestone jumpsuited Elvis — huge stadium concerts (always in the US, Colonel Tom wouldn't let him travel for work) and a long-running Vegas residency. It's a huge sweep of history, but Lurhmann packs it all in!

Is there an Elvis trailer?

Showman Luhrmann knows how to drag out a promotional campaign and he dropped hints, Elvis photos and teaser clips on his Instagram for months. But, finally, Baz Luhrmann released the first Elvis trailer on 17 February following up with a longer cut that sets out Baz Lurhmann's vision of the Elvis legend — beyond the leather and rhinestones — a statement of intent if you will. 

The final line of the trailer, "this ain't no nostalgia show, we're gonna do something... different" says it all. In this trailer, we get to hear much more of the songs and the soundtrack (whisper it, Butler sounds good). We get to see the tensions — cultural, societal, business vs art, music vs spirituality — that make up the backdrop to Elvis' career. Luhrmann paints Elvis as a rebel, someone who fought to do things his way, despite being hemmed in by other people's expectations.  

For superfans, there's also a ten-minute video which has an intro by Baz Luhrman underscored by Elvis' Suspicious Minds, plus the trailer and an interview with Elvis lead actor Austin Butler... Dig in.

See more

How long is the Elvis movie?

Elvis is a whopping 2h 39m running time. More proof that movies really are getting longer, unfortunately... (we're firmly of the view that the shorter the better when it comes to film durations.)

Elvis movie soundtrack

If you know Baz Lurhmann's films you'll know that the Aussie movie director loves to mix influences and styles across time periods and the soundtrack for the Elvis movie is no exception. When he launched the first listen of tracks from the Elvis soundtrack Lurhmann said: "In Elvis, you'll get classic Elvis, but we're translating some of the music into a contemporary feel with an array of amazing guest artists." 

The first three guest artists announced were Doja Cat with "Vegas" (a riff on "Hound Dog"), then Kacey Musgraves who performs the 1961 hit "Can’t Help Falling in Love" and Måneskin with their cover of Elvis' "If I Can Dream".

The full soundtrack list has been shared on Instagram and is now available to buy on Amazon. Unsurprisingly it's already a best-seller.

Does Austin Butler sing in the Elvis movie?

Austin Butler most certainly does sing in the movie and it's a revelation.

Since the film was announced Elvis fans have been asking whether anyone would be able to channel the look, the charisma and, most importantly, the inimitable sound of The King — that velvety, surly, sexy baritone. 

But for anyone who still hasn't watched the film (why not?), Baz Lurhmann released an audio clip of leading man Austin Butler singing "Trouble" and later an early practice session of Butler singing "That's All Right". He says "I feel I haven’t been clear enough in conveying that Austin sings all of the young Elvis in the movie, so forgive me."

Judge for yourself but, us? We're all shook up.

Elvis soundtrack — Austin Butler

Elvis soundtrack — Can’t Help Falling in Love, Kacey Musgraves

Elvis soundtrack — If I Can Dream, Måneskin

Elvis soundtrack — Vegas, Doja Cat

Doja Cat's song "Vegas" (with a heavy top note of "Hound Dog") was the first song from the soundtrack to be released. Initially introduced by Luhrmann on his Instagram (where else?) and then performed by the singer herself at Coachella — with support from the late Shonka Dukureh (who played Big Mama Thornton) — now the full audio track has been posted on YouTube. Listen and get in the zone...

Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie's review of Elvis

Austin Butler, who played Elvis is outstanding.

Priscilla Presley

We were all keen to know what the Presley family would think about the movie dramatizing Elvis' life. And, following a private screening, Priscilla Presley posted her thoughts on Twitter. She had nothing but praise for the director (citing his "unique" vision) and the two acting leads, Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.

"This story is about Elvis and Colonel Parker's relationship. It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered."

Presley went on to say, "The story, as we all know, does not have a happy ending. But I think you will understand a little bit more of Elvis’ journey, penned by a director who put his heart and soul and many hours into this film."

"I relived every moment in this film. It took me a few days to overcome the emotions as it did with Lisa [Marie]. Beautifully done Baz, Tom, Austin and Olivia."

Riley Keough (Elvis' granddaughter), Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood (Elvis' granddaughter), Priscilla Presley (Elvis' ex-wife), Austin Butler (starred as Elvis), Lisa Marie Presley (Elvis' daughter) and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood (Elvis' granddaughter) at the Memphis premiere of Elvis.

Riley Keough (Elvis' granddaughter), Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood (Elvis' granddaughter), Priscilla Presley (Elvis' ex-wife), Austin Butler (starred as Elvis), Lisa Marie Presley (Elvis' daughter) and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood (Elvis' granddaughter) at the Memphis premiere of Elvis. (Image credit: Eric Charbonneau/Warner Bros.)

Lisa Marie (Elvis' daughter) also took time to review the film, posting on her Instagram: 

"I do want to take a moment to let you know that I have seen Baz Luhrmann's movie Elvis twice now, and let me tell you that it is nothing short of spectacular. Absolutely exquisite. Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully. In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully."

Luhrmann has made a great effort to include the Presley family in the process of making and promoting the film — ensuring they were part of the whole experience. It looks as though that effort has more than paid off.

Who’s in the Elvis cast?

Austin Butler (The Shannara Chronicles, Arrow) takes on the title role. Veteran actor Tom Hanks stars as Colonel Tom Parker (Elvis’ controlling manager) and Australian actress, Olivia DeJonge (The Staircase) gets a small part as Elvis’ wife Priscilla Presley. Home and Away actor, Luke Bracey, plays Jerry Schilling — Elvis’ talent manager and a member of his "Memphis Mafia" (the close-knit group that supported Elvis in various ways from the start of his career). Stranger Things actor, Dacre Montgomery, is Steve Binder — the man who produced Elvis' 1968 TV comeback special, got him out of the cuddly cardigans into the two-piece leather and back on track.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell were originally cast as Elvis’ mom and dad (Gladys and Vernon) but, due to the delays and scheduling conflicts they had to drop out and were replaced by Aussie actors Helen Thomson and Richard Roxburgh.

Elvis cast photos

Elvis premieres

The Elvis movie had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Luhrmann has a history with the Cannes Festival having shown three of his feature films there — Strictly Ballroom (1992), Moulin Rouge (2001) and The Great Gatsby (2013). Since then the film, along with its cast and crew, has been on a whirlwind tour of premieres — hitting the UK, two premieres in Australia (Sydney and the Gold Coast) and last, but most certainly not least, Gracelands in Memphis, Tennessee.

Red Carpet premiere event in Memphis for Elvis the movie: Yola, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tom Hanks, Baz Luhrmann, Olivia DeJonge, Austin Butler, Alton Mason and Catherine Martin

Memphis premiere (l-r): Yola, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tom Hanks, Baz Luhrmann, Olivia DeJonge, Austin Butler, Alton Mason and Catherine Martin. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

What’s the title of the Elvis movie?

For months the movie was untitled and, from hints that Luhrmann dropped, we thought it was highly likely that the movie would be called TCB — which was Elvis’s personal motto — short for “Taking Care of Business”. Elvis even had 14-karat gold pendants made for his closest confidants which were the initials TCB with a lightning bolt. However, Luhrmann kept it simple, revealing the title via a social media post just minutes before the trailer was released. Since then we've been treated to three posters featuring Elvis in each of the decades he was a star — the 50s, 60s and 70s,

More Elvis movie content

Elvis in real life

Elvis Presley with some of the cast of his 1962 film GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS

(Image credit: Pictorial Press/Alamy)

Elvis’s career spanned decades — from the 1950s, bringing rock and roll to the masses at the tender age of 21 and scandalizing audiences with his “suggestive” dance moves (hip thrusts weren’t a thing in the 50s), serving in the Army and crossing over effortlessly to star in Hollywood movies he inspired the kind of wild fan worship we see today with BTS and Harry Styles. Despite issues with drink, drugs and food addiction that impacted his touring career, Elvis made a successful comeback in the 60s with a TV special and a Las Vegas residency, before his untimely death at the age of 42. 

A marker of his huge success, Elvis is still the best-selling solo music artist of all time — he’s a more than worthy recipient of the Lurhmann cinematic gaze.

When did Elvis Presley die?

Elvis died on August 16, 1977 in his mansion — Gracelands — in Memphis, Tennessee.

American singer, musician and actor Elvis Presley, 1950s

(Image credit: United Archives / Alamy)
Louise Okafor

I've worked in content strategy, editorial and audience development for leading film and TV companies for over 15 years. Always fascinated by digital trends, I'm currently obsessed with FilmTok. You can also find me extolling the virtues of classic TV shows like Fringe, Smallville and The West Wing, romance movies, Wong Kar Wei's back catalogue and anything that involves Monty Don/Gardener's World.