Elvis, Baz Luhrmann’s show-stopping biopic of the late musical legend, is up for a whopping eight Oscars nominations this Sunday night, thanks to everything from the film’s Big Baz Energy to its impressively wide-spanning portrait of Elvis’s early and late years.
The most-cited boon for Elvis, though? Arguably the performance of its leading man, Austin Butler. The future Dune actor reportedly went to painstaking lengths to learn how the “Hound Dog” singer walked, talked, and, yes—sang. Before we go any further, you should know: we’re not going to address the Elvis voice here, AKA Butler’s gruff, very-much-still-going Elvis mumble that he’s kept around in real life. We have a separate story dedicated to that.
Anyway, whether you’re going to see Elvis before the Academy Awards or already watched it, you’re probably wondering if Butler really has the musical chops to pull off a track like “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” The answer is yes… mostly. Entertainment Weekly spoke to Butler about his prep for the film, where he revealed how important pulling off the music in the film was to him. “Music has always been a part of my life but always a very private thing,” Butler said. “It was just my own form of therapy. I knew that the singing aspect of [the role] was going to be something I really wanted to give everything I had to.”
According to EW, Butler’s voice is behind every song you hear from Elvis’s early life. When Elvis moves to the later periods of the artist’s career, Luhrmann opted to blend Butler and Elvis’s voices together. “I sang every day [while preparing and filming] and would do my singing exercises first thing in the morning,” Butler added to EW. “It is really like a muscle. Through filming, I started noticing notes that I couldn’t hit in the beginning, suddenly, now I could hit those notes. I was widening my range. But it’s not just singing—you’re having to find vocal mannerisms. That could be a little tricky.”
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Impressive, right? Embodying a man who is endlessly impersonated is no small feat. Give it up for Butler for pulling it off. If you’re looking to get technical, Variety helpfully compiled all of the song credits in Elvis. We’ll leave you with the tracks that are credited to Butler:
“I’ll Fly Away,” “That’s All Right,” “Baby, Let’s Play House,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Working on the Building” (with Yola), “Hound Dog,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “Trouble,” “Crawfish,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “If I Can Dream,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”