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Kenneth Branagh's Belfast: Odds reduced on film picking up Oscar and SAG awards

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 19/10/2021 Peter McGoran

Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is not only being backed for success at next year’s Oscars but it’s now being backed to lay down a marker at the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards.

The Northern Irish coming-of-age film took home the coveted People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and is now 7/4 favourite from 5/2 to win the SAG Award for Best Film Ensemble.

The film, which follows Jude Hill and his family in tumultuous 1960s Ireland, features an all-star cast led by Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds and Caitriona Balfe.

According to a spokesperson for BoyleSports, Belfast is now the favourite to pick up a Best Picture gong at the Oscars, with odds currently at 4/1, whereas previously they had been 12/1.

Sarah Kinsella, spokesperson for BoyleSports, said: “Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is the new frontrunner in the race to be crowned Best Film Ensemble winner at next year’s SAG Awards and Irish punters are going crazy for it.

"It’s already been backed into 4/1 favourite from 12/1 for the Best Picture gong at the Oscars, but now the flick is 7/4 from 5/2 to boost its credentials with a SAG Award, so it looks like it’s going to be a huge hit if the early betting is anything to go by.”

The news comes after it was revealed that Belfast actor Jude Hill, who is just 10 years old, is being considered for the lead actor nomination at the Oscars.

The production company behind Kenneth Branagh's 'Belfast' will campaign for the young actor to be considered for the nomination at the 2022 Academy Awards.

As reported by Variety, if Jude Hill was nominated for his role in 'Belfast', he would be the second-youngest actor ever nominated since Jackie Cooper, who was recognised for Norman Taurog’s classic comedy 'Skippy' (1930-31) at the fourth Oscars ceremony.

As well as putting the Armagh actor forward for the prestigious award, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Caitriona Balfe, and Judi Dench are also being touted for supporting actors nominations.

Nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards are set to be announced on February 8 next year.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Jude's mother Shauneen Hill told us about her son's journey to success and how he was chosen from 300 kids to reach the starring role of Buddy in 'Belfast.'

She said: "It all started off with Jude whenever he was four. I used to bring him to all these Speech and Drama festivals and he cleaned up in every festival every year. I could see when he was in nursery, and even when he was in primary school, that when he'd be asked to read a poem in public or something - I could see how talented he was.

"Belfast was his first film, and we were shocked when we told that out of 300 kids, he'd gotten the part of Buddy. At the time we didn't realise how big a role it was.

"But getting to go over to London was amazing. Jude had a ball working with Kenneth, he was on the set with him every day and he's such a lovely man – quiet, very old school, very funny, and he got on so well with Jude. Jude learned so much from him."

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