Kenneth Branagh is finally an Academy Award winner, taking home the best original screenplay prize for Belfast at the 2022 Oscars on Sunday.
Branagh had received eight nominations in his career heading into the ceremony, and his semiautobiographical film, which he also directed, earned seven nominations. His first career nominations came for best actor and best director for 1989’s Henry V.
“This story is the search for joy and hope in the face of violence and loss,” Branagh said about Belfast from the stage. “We lost some people along the way: Johnny Sessions, [star Jamie Dornan’s father] Jim Dornan, Leah Newman. We miss them; we love them; we will never forget them. And we will never forget all of those lost in the heartbreaking, heartwarming, human story of that amazing city of Belfast on the fabulous island of Ireland.”
Also nominated in the category were Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza and The Worst Person in the World. The award was presented by Juno’s Jennifer Garner, Elliot Page and J.K. Simmons to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their film, which won the Oscar in this category.
Belfast‘s screenplay previously earned the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award. However, the category was seen as a tough one to predict, as Don’t Look Up’s script was the top choice at the Writers Guild Awards, while Licorice Pizza’s screenplay won the BAFTA Award.
Branagh’s script focuses on 9-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill), who navigates life with his family during the turbulent 1960s in the titular Irish city. Rounding out the cast are Dornan, Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds; Dench was nominated for supporting actress at the 2022 Oscars, while Hinds picked up a nom for supporting actor.
After landing noms for best picture and best original screenplay this year for Belfast (he was also nominated for best director), Branagh became the first person to be nominated for seven different individual Oscar categories in total over his career.