Kenneth Branagh was born on this day, December 10, in 1960. IrishCentral celebrated by looking back to his long-awaited Oscar win in March of this year when Branagh paid tribute to the "island of Ireland" in his speech for "Best Original Screenplay" for Belfast at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Northern Irish writer and director Kenneth Branagh finally received his well-deserved moment of recognition as he took home an Oscar for his film Belfast in March this year.
During his acceptance speech, Branagh honored his hometown and when speaking about the film, which is based loosely on his childhood growing up in Northern Ireland, he paid tribute to those suffering violence and grief.
"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."March 28, 2022
“This story is the search for joy and hope in the face of violence and loss,” Branagh said 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.”
Branagh's first Oscar win comes after more than three decades of nominations- eight nominations in seven different categories in total.
Watch Kenneth Branagh's Backstage Oscars Speech here:
Speaking backstage, Branagh explained that the "film is about the beginnings of understanding how to deal with the darkness of those days [in Northern Ireland] ... it was to try and find as much joy and humor quickly, typical of the Irish, even in the darkest of situations."
Shot in black and white, the movie follows the precocious Buddy (played by remarkable newcomer Jude Hill), whose family is navigating the tumultuous political and religious strife in 1960s Northern Ireland.
His parents, played by stars Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe, face difficult choices over the future as tensions boil over in their town.
Branagh's win was Belfast's sole honor of the night. It had been nominated in seven categories.
Also nominated in the category for "Best Original Screenplay" were Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza and The Worst Person in the World.
However, it was the incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock that was the main talking point of the 94th Academy Awards.
In a shocking moment caught live on television, Smith stormed the stage of the Oscars and hit Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
After the ceremony, the Academy tweeted a statement condoning violence of any kind.
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
*Originally published in March 2022. Updated in December 2022.