Sir Kenneth Branagh makes red carpet return at star-studded Oscar ceremony

The filmmaker had missed a string of events after a positive Covid test.

27 March 2022

Sir Kenneth Branagh has arrived at the Oscars after missing several award ceremonies earlier this week after testing positive for Covid-19.

The stalwart of British film and theatre, whose film Belfast is in the running for a string of awards including best picture, best director and best original screenplay, said he was “delighted” to be nominated in a record-breaking seven categories at this year’s awards but “more delighted to be here”.

Speaking to ABC’s On The Red Carpet that it was “beautiful to see a Belfast story speak to the world”.

A surge in Covid cases has thrown the attendance of a number of stars into question in recent days.

94th Academy Awards – Arrivals
Sir Kenneth Branagh (Jordan Strauss/AP)

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is nominated in the best original song category for his track Dos Oruguitas, is tipped to win a statue at the ceremony in Los Angeles but will be absent from proceedings after his wife tested positive for Covid.

He wrote on Twitter: “Made it to Hollywood… This weekend, my wife tested (positive) for Covid.

“She’s doing fine. Kids & I have tested (negative), but out of caution, I won’t be going to the Oscars tomorrow night.

“Cheering for my TickTickBoom & Encanto families w my own family, alongside all of you, all of you.

Coda director Sian Heder arrived on the red carpet with her cast of predominantly deaf actors and said she hoped her Oscar-nominated film, which is now a frontrunner to win best picture, would “turn into a movement” following its run of success.

94th Academy Awards – Arrivals
Sian Heder (centre) with Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, Sian Heder, Emilia Jones, and Daniel Durant (Jae C. Hong/AP)

“(Coda star) Marlee Matlin won the Oscar 30 years ago and not that much has changed in Hollywood since then for deaf representation,” she told ABC.

“So to be here tonight and have three deaf actors in the leads of the movie, carrying the film and ASL onscreen and deaf culture celebrated, I just hope this movie turns into a movement.

“I hope it really keeps going and it kicks open the door for other projects.”

Asked if she had entertained the thought of winning the award for best picture, she replied: “Yes and no.

“I think that would be amazing but honestly the journey here has been so unexpected and mind-blowing and I’m so grateful for it.

“Either way I’m so excited to be here.”

The Power Of The Dog star Kodi Smit-McPhee, who is nominated in the best supporting actor category, said he was going to “fanboy” all evening at the ceremony.

94th Academy Awards – Arrivals
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Jordan Strauss/AP)

“It’s chaotic in the best way, I’m just being present with it,” he told ABC.

“I’m gonna fanboy and I don’t want to do that, I just want to play it cool.

“I’m gonna be pulling out all the cards tonight, signatures.”

Asked about looking for his next role following the Oscar nomination he said: “If it’s not broken don’t try and fix it.

“I love the element of surprise.

“I love the dance of fate that I play when material arrives on my doorstep.

“To try and control something like that then you’re failing to think out of the box.”

The actor added that he was “no good” on stage so had a speech prepared in case he scooped the accolade for best supporting actor.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Garfield, Olivia Colman and Dame Judi Dench are among the British stars in the running to pick up Oscars as the star-studded ceremony returns to full wattage on Sunday.

94th Academy Awards – Arrivals
Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Sophie Hunter (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Cumberbatch is nominated for the best actor prize for his role as a cruel rancher in Jane Campion’s western The Power Of The Dog, which leads the pack with 12 nominations, but faces stiff competition from frontrunner Will Smith, who is nominated for his turn as the father of Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard.

They are nominated alongside Garfield for his role as Rent playwright Jonathan Larson in Tick, Tick… Boom!, Javier Bardem for Being The Ricardos, and Denzel Washington for The Tragedy Of Macbeth.

Colman, who won the best actress Oscar in 2019 for her turn in The Favourite, has landed her second nomination in that category for her role as a mother reflecting on her past in The Lost Daughter.

Dame Judi and Ciaran Hinds are nominated for their performances in Belfast.

The Oscars are being held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

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