Netflix made history at the Oscars by amassing 27 nominations, of which 12 came from Jane Campion’s alternative western, The Power of the Dog. While the Best Picture curse still seems to be in play, with the film not winning the much-coveted Award, Jane Campion has won the Best Director Award, becoming the third female director to take home this highly coveted gong.
Following Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for The Hurt Locker and Chloe Zhao for Nomadland in 2021, Campion won the Award for the film based on Thomas Savage’s eponymous 1967 novel.
A tale of internalised homophobia, toxic masculinity, emotional turmoil, and jealousy revolves around two ranch owners and brothers in 1920s Montana, of whom the crueller and more crass brother develops an unlikely relationship with his sister-in-law’s son.
The film had won nominations for all the main actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The Power of the Dog lost to AppleTV’s CODA for the Best Picture Award, which seems like a step-down for the Academy.
Recently, Campion’s film was criticised by veteran western actor Sam Elliott who called the film a “piece of shit” for misrepresenting the old American West and cowboy culture. However, Campion had previously stated how she did not want to tell “one of the crusty old Western stories”, which she defined to NPR as the ones that are “really only told from a kind of alpha male perspective.”
The 67-year-old director from New Zealand shot the film across various locations in her country. This is not the first accolade to validate her creative ingenious; Campion was the first-ever woman to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her 1993 film The Piano.
Watch The Power of the Dog on Netflix now.