Kenneth Branagh's dramedy Belfast bags People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival
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Kenneth Branagh's dramedy Belfast bags People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival

Kenneth Branagh described the first showing of his film Belfast at the festival to be the best moment in his career of forty years.

Hia Datta
Sep 19, 2021
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Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film Belfast has confidently sealed itself as a film to look up to at the Oscars. It won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival on September 18.

The Toronto Film Festival is considered the biggest film festival in North America. It has increasingly begun to be perceived as the accurate identifier of frontrunners in Oscars. Last year, it predicted Nomadland would win the Best Picture at the Oscars and the rest is history!

Thus, winning the People's Choice Award can only harp positively for a film.

In a video message, Kenneth said that the first screening of his film at TIFF is the most memorable in his whole career so far. ‘Thrilled, humbled, and deeply grateful,’ said the director while describing his TIFF experience. The Emmy Award winning actor-director, who played Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, has helmed films like Thor in his career of more than four decades.

His latest dramedy Belfast, that comes from a deeply personal face, depicts Northern Ireland in late 1960s, particularly the violent ethnic-nationalist conflict. The film talks about the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland from the perspective of the nine-year old boy, Buddy.

The conflict went on for three decades, tearing through communities across religious and nationalist fissures. While he was nine-year-old, director Kenneth himself escaped to England with his family. They took the move to protect themselves from the escalating tension.

Belfast stars Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, and Ciaran Hinds. The film surpassed contenders Scarborough and The Power of the Dog, a dark western that features Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Toronto Film Festival is being held in person in 2021 after going digital during the COVID-19 phase in 2020. As a precaution, there will be limited attendance and fewer red carpet appearances in 2021 too.

The winners of People’s Choice Awards at Toronto Film Festival were all nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, wherein three of the films won the Academy Award eventually. The list includes the 2019 film Green Book. 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire also won the People’s Choice Awards and went on to clinch glory at the Oscars.

Given this tradition, Kenneth Branagh, who has so far received Oscar nominations but never actually won one, might just break the jinx with Belfast. The Academy Awards will be held on March 27, 2022.

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