Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is among the favourites for Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards after taking the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The latter is considered a strong indicator of inbound success at the Oscars but said film is up against some tough competition and isn’t thought to be poised for a win in the aforementioned category.
Belfast stars Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds, Judi Dench and Jude Hill and was shot in black and white. It relays the story of a young boy based on Branagh, growing up at the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It won Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA’s and has been nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound, and Best Original Song.
Hinds is the bookies’ third favourite to win Best Supporting Actor while Dench is right behind in fourth place. Bettors can typically base their picks for the Oscars after TIFF – it’s the easiest way to go. There are multiple avenues to do this in Canada, like the legal online betting sites in Ontario where you can vote and bet for your favourite movie.
The biggest betting sites have seen lots of activity heading into the Oscars this year and, while Belfast is a strong contender for the aforementioned accolade, the bookies reckon it has a better chance of winning Best Original Screenplay or Best Director.
Belfast was the marginal favourite for around three months and nominations came in aplenty yet it’s now being suggested that it’s possible the film goes home without winning a single award.
Many People’s Choice Award winners have gone on to win the top award at the Oscars but it appears Jane Campion’s Power of the Dog will be the film to snag it this year, with the hype around Belfast having died down a bit. The Power of the Dog and Sian Heder’s Coda are now considered to be the frontrunners for the award.
“As of this morning, Belfast is third favorite to win best picture with odds of 12 to one,” a spokesperson for Paddy Power said on Monday. “The Power of the Dog remains the favorite at 8 to 11, while Coda has crept into second place at 12 to one.
“Belfast is proving to be a very popular market, represented in seven different categories and is getting a lot of support from our punters.
“Jane Campion is the odds-on favorite to win best director as well. She is way out ahead with Branagh, Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) all with the same odds of 20 to one.
“I would say Branagh’s best chance of winning an Oscar is in the best original screenplay category. At the moment, Belfast is second favorite to win at 15 to eight, with Licorice Pizza just ahead at four to six.
“The odds are very tight with a lot more money in that market, compared to other categories.
“It’s very much a two-horse race between Branagh and Anderson to win best original screenplay and Branagh could do it yet.”
The Jane Campion film is also favoured for Best Picture at William Hill but there have been lots of bets on Branagh’s Belfast winning the award for Best Director.
“It looks like Power of the Dog and Coda are the leading contenders for the best picture Oscar,” a William Hill spokesperson said. “However, we have seen some money this morning for Belfast. The Kenneth Branagh film has been cut from 10/1 to 9/1 and is now third to take the Academy Award.
“Interestingly, Branagh has also been backed from 20/1 to 14/1 to pick up the best director gong.”
Belfast was an early favourite to win Best Picture at Betfred but has since moved to third over there, although the movie has garnered significant support from Northern Ireland, unsurprisingly.
A spokesman for the bookmaker said:
“In January, Belfast was the one to beat at five to two, but it’s slipped to third place now, at eight to one.
“There does seem to be particular interest in Belfast from people in Northern Ireland, not surprisingly and we have had a substantial amount taken there.”