And so it begins. With less than a month until its UK and Ireland release, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast has been shortlisted for two Academy Awards.
The mainly black-and-white film, starring Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe and Jude Hill, made the shortlist in two categories — original song, for Van Morrison’s Down to Joy, and sound.
The shortlists for 10 categories were announced on Wednesday.
As well as the two in which Belfast got a nod, the categories include documentary feature, international film, animated, live action, documentary shorts, make-up and hairstyling, score and visual effects.
Academy members will now view the pieces of work before voting on which ones should receive nominations.
Of course, the biggies won’t be announced until February 8, when we’ll find out if the film, its stars and writer/director make the cut.
But that’s not to detract from the first-round contenders. To be shortlisted in sound and original song categories for the Academy Awards is still a huge achievement.
Down to Joy, which plays over the opening credits, was written specifically for the movie by Morrison and has already been nominated for a Golden Globe.
The original song shortlist is a tough category though, loaded with big-name stars from the music world.
Morrison is up against the likes of Beyonce (Be Alive), Jay-Z (Guns Go Bang), Ariana Grande (Just Look Up) and U2 (Your Song Saved My Life). Billie Eilish’s Bond theme No Time to Die is also in there and is a shoo-in for an Oscar nod.
But Morrison could still do it. He might have been making headlines this year for branding Health Minister Robin Swann “dangerous”, but he still knows how to write a fine tune or two.
If Morrison is nominated, all eyes will then turn to the February talent nods to see if Branagh, Dornan and Ciaran Hinds get a mention.
There’s a strong possibility that all four Belfast men (Dornan’s from Holywood, but let’s not split hairs) could find themselves in the running for an Academy Award.
Now wouldn’t that be something?