Riley Keough Says Austin Butler Deserves an Oscar for 'Elvis' (Exclusive)

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They're already Hollywood royalty, but on Tuesday, the women of the Presley family -- Elvis' ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, and granddaughter, Riley Keough -- made it official, with a hand and footprint ceremony at the famous TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The trio -- along with Lisa Marie's 13-year-old twin daughters, Harper and Finley -- was honored in celebration of the legacy of their famous family, as well as the upcoming release of the Elvis biopic, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll himself. 

Luhrmann and Butler both spoke at the ceremony, which was a moving moment for all of the members of the family, who have been outspoken in their support of the upcoming film and its portrayal of their late, iconic patriarch.

"It means a lot, absolutely, to my family and the people who knew Elvis really, really well, to be honored in this way," Priscilla told ET, adding that the theater -- then known as the Grauman's Chinese Theatre -- was one of the first sights she saw with Elvis when she first came to Los Angeles in 1962. 

"It's just incredibly emotional and kind of hard to process, but it's definitely such a big honor," Riley agreed.

Harper Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Riley Keough, and Finley Lockwood attend the Handprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

For Lisa Marie, the film's release feels like a much larger cultural moment than just a celebration of her father's legacy -- Elvis not only explores the life of the man himself, but the Black artists and cultural traditions that shaped his musical background.

"It means everything to us, it's so important," she shared. "I mean, everything that's happening right now... the movie is important. The subject matter is important. The stories that it tells, the history that it gives, it's all very important and very relevant right now."

"This is obviously a huge honor to me and my family and my children, to be asked to do this," she added. "But it's not just because it's my father... It covers a lot of ground that needs to be covered and issues [that need to be addressed]."

Lisa Marie's Instagram post in support of the film was one of her first public statements following the tragic death of her son, Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in July 2020. Despite her overwhelming grief, she seems to have found a bit of emotional catharsis in the film. 

"I wasn't ready for what it did, I really wasn't," she recalled to ET. "They kind of left me alone in the theater the first time I saw it, so I kind of watched it by myself and braced myself. When Baz came to get me after the film, I just fell into him in tears and I could barely speak."

The family screened the film together again this week, and Lisa Marie continued to have nothing but praise for Butler's portrayal of her father, saying, "You wanna keep watching him."

For her part, Riley said the first time she watched Elvis, she was "bracing for an emotional experience," but the film went above and beyond -- and brought her to tears early on.

"I think it was a combination between witnessing the work that I could tell I was about to watch and just feeling in that moment that they really got him," she recalled. "It's really emotional to have people care so much about your family."

And while her mother has already started the Oscar campaign for Butler -- joking that she'd "eat my own foot" if he didn't win an award for the role -- Riley said she had to agree.

"I might be a little bit biased, because it's my grandfather, but I really think I'm able to watch his performance unbiased," she noted. "The work that he put in -- you don't see that often, that dedication... It's really spectacular, and I haven't seen something like that from an actor -- especially in our age range. He really deserves it."

For his part, Butler said he's been humbled by all the praise, particularly from Elvis' family and friends. "I just can't believe this is my life right now," he marveled to ET.

And while he's not sure that more performing is in the cards for him in the future -- despite the fact that he's earned even more praise for singing all the "young Elvis" songs in the film -- he said he'll always be honored to have taken the stage in Elvis' blue suede shoes.

"I got the gift of experiencing that and feeling a rapport with the audience," he recalled. "It was just an incredible gift to me. I don't know what the future holds, but I just rest in the fact that that it was the time of my life."

Elvis is in theaters June 24. See more on the movie in the video below.


Austin Butler Says Getting Priscilla Presley's Blessing for 'Elvis' Was 'So Moving' (Exclusive)

'Elvis': Everything the Presley Family Has Said About the Biopic

Austin Butler Addresses Why He Still Has an Elvis Presley Accent

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