KENNETH Branagh has said “it’s a hell of a day for my family” as he was nominated for a string of Oscars for his autobiographical film Belfast.

Jane Campion’s western The Power Of The Dog leads this year's pack with 12 nominations, but Branagh's black-and-white film, inspired by his childhood in Northern Ireland, has garnered him best director and best original screenplay nominations. The film is also in the running for best picture, with a total of seven nods.

He said: “It’s a long way from the streets of Belfast to the Academy Awards.

“Today, I think of my mother and father, and my grandparents – how proud they were to be Irish, how much this city meant to them. They would have been overwhelmed by this incredible honour – as am I.

“Given a story as personal as this one, it’s a hell of a day for my family, and the family of our film.

“I thank Academy voters for their incredible and generous recognition.

“We are honoured to be among the other extraordinary nominees in a remarkable year for films, and I salute the superb cast and crew of Belfast for their exceptional talent, comradeship and kindness.”

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Branagh is nominated in the best directing category alongside Campion, who makes history as the first woman to be nominated for the best director Oscar twice. She was nominated for The Piano in 1994.

The Power Of The Dog, her return to the big screen following a foray into television, is nominated for 12 prizes, including best picture, while stars Kirsten Dunst, her partner Jesse Plemons and co-star Kodi Smit-McPhee, are all recognised in supporting categories.

Olivia Colman, who won the best actress Oscar in 2019 for her role 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.

She picked up a supporting nod last year for her turn in The Father.

She will compete for the best actress gong against Kristen Stewart for her performance as Diana, Princess of Wales in Spencer, Jessica Chastain for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, Penelope Cruz for Parallel Mothers and Nicole Kidman for Being The Ricardos.

Dame Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds have both landed nominations for their performances in Belfast.

Hinds, who was born in Belfast, is nominated in the best supporting actor category alongside The Power Of The Dog’s Smit-McPhee and Plemons, Troy Kotsur for Coda, and JK Simmons for Being The Ricardos.

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Dench is nominated for the best supporting actress prize alongside Irish actress Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter, Ariana DeBose for West Side Story, Aunjanue Ellis for King Richard, and Dunst for The Power Of The Dog.

However Irish star Caitriona Balfe missed out on an Oscar nomination in one of the biggest snubs in the acting categories this year.

The actress had been widely expected to land a supporting actress nod for her role in Belfast.

The 94th Oscars will take place on March 27 in Los Angeles.