Coda takes Best Picture title as Belfast’s Sir Kenneth Branagh wins first Oscar

Sir Kenneth Branagh was among the highest profile UK winners at the 2022 Oscars, finally claiming an award for Belfast as best original screenplay after multiple nominations over the years.

Belfast is based on his own childhood in the city during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and had also been nominated in several other categories, including best picture and best director.

Sir Kenneth was able to attend the glittering ceremony in Los Angeles for the 94th Academy Awards after missing out on a number of previous red carpet events due to testing positive for Covid-19.

Sir Kenneth Branagh Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

Collecting the statue, he said: “This is an enormous honour for my family and a great tribute to an amazing city and fantastic people.”

The actor, writer and director added of Belfast: “This story is the search for joy and hope in the fact of violence and loss.

“We lost some people along the way. We miss them, we love them and we will never forget them and we will never forget all of those lost in the heart-breaking, heart-warming human story of that amazing city of Belfast on the fabulous island of Ireland.

“This means a lot.”

Belfast stars Dame Judi Dench, Jude Hill, and Ciaran Hinds. Credit: PA

Family drama Coda, which features a predominantly deaf cast, was named best picture, while deaf actor Troy Kotsur made history as he was named best supporting actor.

The film also won best adapted screenplay.

Kotsur dedicated his gong to “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”, adding: “This is our moment.”

Troy Kotsur with co- stars Eugenio Derbez, Marlee Matlin, Sian Heder, Amy Forsyth, and Daniel Durant Credit: second left

Meanwhile, the Oscar for best short film went to The Long Goodbye starring and co-written by British actor and musician Riz Ahmed.

The 11-minute feature was released alongside his album of the same name - set in the near-future, it depicts a south Asian family in London being terrorised by an all-white militia force.

UK talent scored a number of wins in the technical categories, taking the overall tally to six wins, slightly down on last year’s total of eight.

Joe Walker won the Oscar for best editing, for the sci-fi epic Dune, while composer and music producer Theo Green was among the winners for best sound, again for Dune.

Jenny Beavan picked up the Oscar for best costume design, for the film Cruella - the third time she has won the award in her career.

In another little bit of history, Jane Campion has become only the third woman to win the best director Oscar, as the Academy celebrated a female filmmaker for two consecutive years.

The New Zealand-born director took home the prize for her western The Power Of The Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Campion is the first woman to be nominated twice for the directing prize, after also landing a nod for her 1993 film The Piano.

The Oscars were, however thrown into chaos when Will Smith stormed the stage and appeared to hit host Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pickett Smith.

The incident overshadowed Smith being named best actor minutes later.

The actor, 53, said he was ‘heartbroken’ and would accept any consequences that emerged from his scheduled disciplinary Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

He appeared to take offence at Rock’s reference to his wife’s short haircut, something Pinkett Smith has talked about as being prompted by her struggles with alopecia.

Referring to the buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can't wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes.

However, Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Smith then accepted his first ever Oscar when he was named best actor his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father”.

Will Smith confronts Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

The Academy has said it “does not condone violence of any form”, following the altercation, adding: “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 Los Angeles Police Department says no police report has yet been filed, with a spokesperson stating: “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards programme.

“The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report.

“If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”