Belfast Campaigns Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan as Supporting, Jude Hill Goes for Lead at Oscars
The cast of Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” including Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench, will follow young Jude Hill’s lead on the road to the Academy Awards. Variety has learned exclusively that Focus Features will campaign Hill for lead actor consideration during the awards season, with the rest of the cast going for the supporting recognition.
Balfe and Dornan’s category submissions have been a question mark since the film’s debut at Telluride, riding the line between leading and supporting characters. Balfe, in many ways, has the more accessible and resonating role of the cast. Aside from delivering a beautifully orchestrated and charged turn, it can easily be packaged with all the “Oscar clip” bells and whistles that you see in award-winning contenders. Her star has been growing for years now, already appearing in the best picture nominee “Ford v Ferrari” (2019) and gaining a massive following as Claire Randall on Starz’s hit television show series “Outlander,” set to return in 2022.
The studio will be looking to have her co-star Dench alongside her as the loving and scene-stealing Granny. She’s been an Academy favorite with seven career noms, including one win in supporting actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth in the best picture winner “Shakespeare in Love” (1998). By the time nominations are announced on Feb. 8, Dench will be 87 years old, and if nominated, will make her the second oldest supporting actress nominee in history, surpassing Ruby Dee (“American Gangster”) and behind Gloria Stuart (“Titanic”). Unfortunately, Dench will miss the record by 161 days.
Supporting actress is a category typically welcoming of two actresses from the same film. In the past 93 years, 35 supporting actress lineups have included two or more women nominated, with 12 taking home the gold, most recently by Octavia Spencer for “The Help” (2011).
Born in Belfast, Ireland, where the story takes place, Hinds has been a versatile actor for years, featuring memorable turns in Oscar-nominated films such as “There Will Be Blood” from Paul Thomas Anderson and “Munich” from Steven Spielberg. As Pop, a role offered to recent best actor winner Anthony Hopkins, and Hinds looks to have finally reached his Oscar dance. It could mirror the winning strategy for past respected character actors such as Jim Broadbent when he won for “Iris” (2001), coincidentally also starring Judi Dench.
Irish actor Dornan, who also grew up in the suburbs of Belfast, is terrific as Pa, finding the desperation and earnest beats of a man urgently trying to support his family. Dornan has been shepherding an array of exciting roles the last few years, including his passionate tree-climbing musical turn in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” As Pa, he finds the desperation and earnest beats of a man urgently trying to supporting his family. In comparison to supporting actress, two men from the same film have had trouble finding recognition, with only 20 instances in the Academy archives. However, three of those have happened in the last four years alone (with “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Irishman” and “Judas and the Black Messiah”). While there are a couple of films hoping for a double-dip (i.e., “The French Dispatch,” “The Power of the Dog” and “Mass”), “Belfast” seems to be the strongest candidate at the moment, given the film’s frontrunner status.
Playing the wide-eyed and adorable Buddy, Hill’s professional and effortless work is in many ways the beating heart of the film. If nominated for his role as Buddy, Hill, at 11 years old, would be the second-youngest actor ever nominated since Jackie Cooper, who was recognized for Norman Taurog’s classic comedy “Skippy” (1930-31) at the fourth Oscar ceremony. It should be noted, Cooper is the only child ever to be nominated for best actor, and this year for leading men is highly competitive.
Submissions are one thing that comes with all awards campaigning, but the awards bodies voting for them is another. Except for the SAG Awards, every significant awards group has the autonomy to vote for an actor in any category they choose. So we’ve seen switcharoos like Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (2008), which she still won in lead, after winning supporting at all the televised award shows prior. Last year, we almost saw it with Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which is explained by Lakeith Stanfield’s correlating nom.
“Belfast” is headed to Mill Valley and Middleburg Film Festivals, where writer and director Branagh will receive tributes and honors. Looking strong for Oscar recognition in writing and directing, he has received five nominations over his career, all across different categories (directing, actor, adapted screenplay, supporting actor and live action short), likely adding one more to it.
“Belfast” will open in theaters on Nov. 12.
2022 Academy Awards Predictions
- Best Picture
- Best Director
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Supporting Actor
- Best Supporting Actress
- Best Original Screenplay
- Best Adapted Screenplay
- Best Animated Feature
- Best Production Design
- Best Cinematography
- Best Costume Design
- Best Film Editing
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling
- Best Sound
- Best Visual Effects
- Best Original Score
- Best Original Song
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best International Feature
Source: Read Full Article