Hey, Kodi Smit-McPhee: Better watch out for Ciaran Hinds at the BAFTAs

Many believe the supporting actor Oscar race has been whittled down to two contenders: critical favourite Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of The Dog”) and SAG champ Troy Kotsur (“CODA”). And while the precursor results this year largely point toward that conclusion, there are a multitude of factors that point to the BAFTA winner not being either Smit-McPhee nor Kotsur but rather Ciaran Hinds (3rd in our combined odds) for the Focus Features crowd pleaser “Belfast.” Here are 5 reasons why you should be predicting Hinds to pull off the mighty upset this Sunday.

In other precursors where Hinds has been nominated (Critics’ Choice and Golden Globes), he’s had to compete with his “Belfast” co-star Jamie Dornan. BAFTA is the first in which Hinds doesn’t have to vie against Dornan and this will benefit him greatly. All of the passion for “Belfast” will now be channeled directly towards Ciaran’s name, and Jamie won’t take away any of the votes.

Hinds is a veteran character actor with an abundance of respect from his peers. With more than 120 acting credits to his name, Hinds has worked with more voters in the BAFTA membership than any of his other fellow nominees.  Among his most acclaimed credits include Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” Martin Scorsese’s “Silence”, Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” and Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges.” He’s also been part of some iconic pieces of long-form entertainment, ranging from HBO shows “Rome” and “Game of Thrones” to his poignant turn as Aberforth Dumbledore in the final chapter of the “Harry Potter” franchise, “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part II”. While he may not be as popular among the public as his fellow nominees, Hinds will be popular among BAFTA voters.

Another reason Hinds will prove popular among BAFTA voters is that he is from Belfast. BAFTA voters love home-grown and European talent. While Woody Norman is British, he plays an American character in “C’mon C’mon”, an American film made by American auteur Mike Mills. Hinds on the other hand, is playing an Irish character in a film by another Irishman, Kenneth Branagh. Therefore, it’s likely that Hinds will have the hometown advantage over his fellow nominees. In the past 30 years, 11 of the 15 BAFTA winners that didn’t go on to win the Oscar were either from the United Kingdom or featured in British films.

One of those winners was Geoffrey Rush, who pulled off an upset over eventual Oscar winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) at the 2011 BAFTA awards. While Bale is British and Rush is Australian, the latter’s film, “The King’s Speech” was the ultimate in English fare. Tom Hooper’s historical drama about King George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammering problem won seven BAFTAs that year. 

Hinds’ character, Pop is the equally witty and wise grandfather to Buddy (Jude Hill) and is the film’s scene-stealer. His role is similar in size, nature and memorability to Alan Arkin’s 2006 Oscar-winning turn in “Little Miss Sunshine.” Arkin didn’t start his winning campaign for “Little Miss Sunshine” until he won at BAFTA. 

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