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‘No surprise,’ Branagh’s love letter to Belfast leads the way at Golden Globes

Movie picks up seven nominations for event and another 11 nods at Critics Choice Awards

Kenneth Branagh’s cinematic love letter to Belfast has received seven nominations in the 79th Golden Globe Awards.

The head of Northern Ireland Screen said it was “no surprise” the film was gaining the plaudits given how audiences had been receiving it.

The semi-autobiographical movie — Branagh’s most personal to date — leads the way on the film side with nods for Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director Motion Picture (Branagh) and Best Screenplay (Branagh) as well as nominations for cast.

And on the same day the controversy-hit Golden Globe nominations were unveiled, the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards announced 11 nominations for Belfast.


A scene from Belfast. Credit: Rob Youngson / Focus Features

A scene from Belfast. Credit: Rob Youngson / Focus Features

A scene from Belfast. Credit: Rob Youngson / Focus Features

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Winners of both will be revealed on Sunday, January 9.

In a low-key affair following a year of contention surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and claims of a lack of diversity on its panel, the nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes were announced by rapper Snoop Dogg. Belfast picked up seven nods, on a par with Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Alongside the two nominations for Branagh and the Best Motion Picture nod, north Belfast man Ciarán Hinds, who starred in the Oscar-winning Northern Irish short The Shore 10 years ago, is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, alongside his co-star, Holywood’s Jamie Dornan.

Hinds and Dornan play father (Pop) and son (Pa) in the film, partly based on Branagh’s formative years growing up in Belfast.

Caitriona Balfe, who plays Ma, is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. And Van Morrison gets a nod for Best Original Song (Motion Picture) for his track Down to Joy.

Tying with West Side Story for most nominations for any film in the Critics Choice shortlist, Belfast is up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Cinematography (Haris Zambarloukos), Best Production Design (Jim Clay, Claire Nia Richards) and Best Editing (Úna Ní Dhonghaíle). In the Best Supporting Actor category, Hinds and Dornan go head to head again while Balfe is in the running for Best Supporting Actress.


The Power of the Dog. Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

The Power of the Dog. Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

The Power of the Dog. Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

And young Jude Hill, who plays Buddy in Belfast, gets a nod for Best Young Actor/Actress.

The 11-year-old from Gilford recently won the Hollywood Critics Association award for Breakthrough Performance.

Reacting to the Golden Globes announcement, Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said he had been at the Waterfront Hall for the Irish premiere of Belfast and had seen the audience’s delighted response.

“Having watched the local audience’s enthralled response to Belfast at the Belfast Film Festival, I am not in the slightest surprised that Sir Kenneth Branagh’s most personal film ever has picked up seven nominations at the Golden Globes,” he said.

“We are very proud to have Ken as our honorary president and we will be cheering him and all of the wonderful team behind Belfast throughout the awards season.”

Since its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September, Belfast has picked up numerous awards and nominations, making it a likely Oscar contender when the nominations are revealed early next year.


West Side Story is also nominated

West Side Story is also nominated

West Side Story is also nominated

At the Las Vegas Film Critics Society awards, Belfast won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Youth in Film (Under 21) and was also named one of the top 10 films of 2021.

Hill was also named Best Young Performer at the Phoenix Film Critics Society.

While the Golden Globes have traditionally been seen as a precursor to the Oscars and nominations would normally have been greeted with huge cheer, the widespread criticism aimed at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association over its lack of black journalists and alleged unethical behaviour has led to a more muted response in the film industry this year. The controversy forced the HFPA to overhaul its membership and as a result of the criticism, it lost its televised award show.

Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise even returned his three Globes to the group’s headquarters.

NBC, the longtime broadcaster of the Golden Globes, has said it won’t air the 2022 awards ceremony because “change of this magnitude takes time and work.”

It is not yet known what form the Golden Globes awards bash will take on January 9.

Winners of the 27th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, however, will be announced live from the Fairmont Century City Plaza Hotel in LA, televised on a special simulcast on TBS & The CW on Sunday, January 9.

Belfast is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the social and political tumult of the late 1960s.

Branagh wrote the script during lockdown as a cinematic ode to the city he left behind as a child, when rising sectarian tensions and economic opportunities prompted his parents to relocate to England.

Belfast is already on release in the US and opens in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on January 21, 2022.

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