‘Belfast’ is a strong Oscar contender. But will its title tank its chances?

An illustrated skyline featuring architecture from Belfast, Chicago, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.
Will its title help or hurt “Belfast” at the Oscars?
(Lucinda Rogers / For The Times)

Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical drama “Belfast” is a likely Oscar contender in several categories. If nominated, it would join many motion picture academy-recognized films with city titles. Consider:

3 movies with cities in the titles have been named best picture: “Casablanca” (1942), “An American in Paris” (1951) and “Chicago” (2002).

0 Chicago is Oscar’s kind of town only some of the time. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” went 0 for 6 last year, with Aaron Sorkin joining Martin Scorsese (“Gangs of New York,” 0 for 10, 2003) and Steven Spielberg (“Munich,” 0 for 5, 2006) among big-name directors of city-title shutouts.

1 acting Oscar has been awarded for a movie named after New York City or any of its boroughs: James Dunn’s supporting award for 1945’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”


2 actors have won lead Oscars in movies set in the City of Brotherly Love: James Stewart, “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), and Tom Hanks, “Philadelphia” (1993).

2015, 2021 The snubs of Ava DuVernay and Regina King for “Selma” and “One Night in Miami,” respectively, highlight the lack of Black female directing nominees in Oscar history.

10 Oscars collectively won by “L.A. Confidential,” “La La Land” and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” which together scored …

33 nominations. Who says Hollywood is in love with itself?