"It's just sort of strange to celebrate at a time of such deep grief," the actor said.
Austin Butler has complex emotions about his first-ever Oscar nomination in the wake of Lisa Marie Presley's death. On January 24, the 31-year-old star was nominated for Best Actor, earning recognition for his performance as Elvis Presley in Elvis.
In a phone interview on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, he reflected on receiving the exciting news as he mourned the death of Lisa Marie. “It’s sort of a bittersweet moment right now because I think of how much I wish she was here right now to get to celebrate with me,” Butler mentioned.
Austin Butler just woke up and got on the phone with Hoda and Jenna to talk about his ‘Actor in a leading role’ #Oscars nomination for ‘Elvis.’— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) January 24, 2023
“What an exciting way to wake up!,” he said. pic.twitter.com/Jv3nlAWEd7
He also said he is "still processing" his nomination and expressed his sadness that Lisa Marie could not witness the film's continued success, reported TODAY. He added, "It's the same thing I feel with Elvis; I wish that they could see these moments, you know? It's just sort of strange to celebrate at a time of such deep grief. But I sort of think of it as a way to honor her. This is for her."
Butler also spoke of his role, "It was such a daunting undertaking, making this movie, and it was also a very long process. I just remember those sleepless nights and all the fear and all the possibilities for how it could have gone wrong." He added, "Being recognized just feels very surreal and amazing."
Lisa Marie died on January 12, just a few days after she and her mom Priscilla Presley attended the Golden Globes, where Butler won best actor in a drama. Butler honored her memory in a statement to NBC News. “My heart is completely shattered for Riley, Finley, Harper, and Priscilla at the tragic and unexpected loss of Lisa Marie,” Butler said. “I am eternally grateful for the time I was lucky enough to be near her bright light and will forever cherish the quiet moments we shared.”
Butler developed a special bond with the Presley family while making Elvis, and Lisa Marie Presley had nothing but appreciation for Butler’s portrayal of her late father. “Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully,” she wrote on Instagram in May 2022. "In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully (If he doesn’t get an Oscar for this, I will eat my own foot, haha.)”
Presley had also praised Butler at the Golden Globes on January 10, just a few days before her death. “I really didn’t know what to do with myself after I saw it,” the late singer-songwriter told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet. “I had to take, like, five days to process it because it was so incredible and so spot on and just so authentic that, yeah, I can’t even describe what it meant.”
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Jon Kopaloff; (R) Getty Images | Christopher Polk