Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Good luck Belfast boys!

Published Thursday, 23 February 2012
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Sunday night is the biggest movie night of the year: it's the 2012 Academy Awards! Our fingers will be crossed for our very finest talent who have been Oscar nominated.

So let's hear it for the Belfast Boys, Kenneth Branagh, Terry George and Peter J Devlin.

It is not widely known that the Oscar, or to give the 24-karat gold statuette its official title, the Academy Award of Merit, is as Irish as leprechauns, Guinness and the Blarney Stone.

For it was created in 1928 by the legendary MGM Art Director and Dublin born Cedric Gibbons. If you haven't heard of Gibbons, you will certainly have seen his majestic film work; The Wizard of Oz, An American In Paris, Lust For Life, to name a few. The maestro designer won no fewer than eleven Oscars himself and was nominated a further twenty eight times.

It may be no surprise in 2012 that Kenneth Branagh is Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his flawless performance as Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn. But what is startling is that although this is the Belfast born actor's fifth nomination, it is his first acting nomination for over 20 years.

In recent years, Branagh has spent more time behind the camera, directing films like The Magic Flute, Sleuth and Thor.

However, back in 1990, Kenneth Branagh was tipped to become a major movie star. That year he was nominated for both Best Director and Best Actor for his big screen version of Henry V, the very same Shakespearean play that Laurence Olivier won an honorary Oscar for his film version in 1947.

Indeed, young Ken was constantly being hailed as the new Olivier throughout his early acting career. How ironic then, that it is in portraying Olivier that he is Oscar nominated again.

If you have been to the cinema at all in the last twenty years, then you will have heard the exemplary film work of Belfast's Peter J Devlin. He is a four time Oscar nominee for sound, whose pitch perfect movies ranges from Star Trek to Bad Boys, Frost/Nixon to Gone In Sixty Seconds. Peter has found harmony with many of the legendary film actors, with Jack Nicholson in Blood and Wine, Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday and Anthony Hopkins in Instinct and Thor.

This a master craftsman, who found his voice working alongside the very best film directors in the world, all of whom including J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard have nothing but praise for this sound guy. Peter has been nominated this time for his lunar loudness on Transformers Dark of the Moon, his sixth collaboration with Director Michael Bay.

Whether on the small screen or the big screen, Belfast's Terry George is one of Ireland's leading filmmakers. Terry has excelled on television, creating The District for CBS and directing In Treatment and also Luck for HBO. He has excelled in film with a series of extraordinary screenplays, earning him Oscar nominations for In The Name Of The Father and Hotel Rwanda.

But he has been Oscar nominated this year for a short film, an extraordinary compelling 30 minute drama which brilliantly explores the landscape of the new Northern Ireland. Set on the beautiful County Down coast, The Shore, starring Ciaran Hinds and Conleth Hill is an unforgettable story of divided friendship, misunderstanding and eventual reconciliation.

For Terry George, The Shore was a joyous homecoming. An Oscar on Sunday night for Best Live Action Short would be a career high in an already glittering career.

Other Irish nominees dreaming of Oscar glory are Peter McDonald for his short film Pentecost and make-up artist Lynn Johnston for Albert Nobbs.

Good luck to one and all.

The lucky winners will be announced at the star-studded ceremony in Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on 26 February.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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