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Oscars Best Picture frontrunner? ‘Belfast’ wins TIFF audience award

Oscars Best Picture frontrunner? ‘Belfast’ wins TIFF audience award

The stock on Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” has been trending way up since it debuted to rave reviews at the Telluride Film Festival earlier this month, and the rising contender just added a major bellwether to its nascent Oscars hopes. On Saturday night, “Belfast” was awarded the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, a leading Best Picture indicator over the 10 years.

Since 2008, 12 of the 13 winners of the Toronto audience award have gone on to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, with five films — “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Green Book,” and “Nomadland” — eventually taking home the Best Picture Oscar.

That puts “Belfast” in prime position as a major Oscars 2022 force. The film, based on Branagh’s upbringing in Ireland during the Troubles, stars Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, and Ciaran Hinds, as well as newcomer Jude Hill as Buddy,

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