‘Outlander’ star Caitriona Balfe misses Oscar nomination for ‘Belfast’: What happened?!

After five years of being overlooked at the Emmys for her breakout role in TV’s “Outlander,” most awards pundits thought Caitriona Balfe would score an Oscar nomination on Tuesday morning for “Belfast.” But it wasn’t to be. The Irish actress was snubbed in Best Supporting Actress in favor of her co-star, Judi Dench, plus Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”), Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”), Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”) and Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”). Find out who wins when the 94th annual Academy Awards ceremony airs live on ABC on Sunday, March 27.

SEE 2022 Oscar nominations: Full list of nominees in all 23 categories at the 94th Academy Awards

Balfe plays Ma in Kenneth Branagh‘s semi-autobiographical film, the working class mother of young Buddy (Jude Hill) in 1969 Northern Ireland. Dench (who plays Granny) was not predicted to earn an Oscar bid after missing out on key precursors. But we underestimated Dame Judi, who has racked up seven nominations and one win, in this category for “Shakespeare in Love” (1998). Ciarán Hinds, who plays Pop, earned a Best Supporting Actor bid, while Jamie Dornan (as Pa) was snubbed.

In the lead-up to Tuesday’s announcement, Balfe received bids at all of the important precursors, signaling an Oscar nomination was likely. While she lost the Golden Globe to DeBose, the other competitions — BAFTA, Critics Choice and SAG Awards — are still pending.

On “Outlander,” Balfe has played the role of time traveling nurse Claire Randall Fraser for five years now. The sixth season (which was delayed by Covid-19) is scheduled to premiere on Starz on March 6, 2022. Her co-star Sam Heughan, who portrays her Highlander true love Jamie Fraser, has been equally as overlooked at the Emmys, so Balfe’s Oscar bid would have been icing on the cake for “Outlander” fans who’ve been waiting for some kind of awards love for their favorite stars for the better part of a decade. Perhaps she can parlay this “Belfast” snub into an Emmy bid for “Outlander” later this year?

To date, “Outlander” has only scored four Emmy noms: music (2015), costumes (2016), production design (2016) and costumes again (2018). The fantasy series is created by Ronald D. Moore and based on the books by Diana Gabaldon.

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