Jane Campion’s universally acclaimed western, The Power of the Dog, the big-screen adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, is one of last year’s biggest titles. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a fearsome, complex rancher in ’20s America, it set the world alight with its refreshing take on the Old West and its inversion of genre stereotypes.
Given that it was so invigorating, it has now taken home just two of many awards it is sure to receive, the two most coveted prizes at this year’s edition of the BAFTAs, best director and best film.
The ceremony was held on Sunday, and it was Cumberbatch who accepted the best director award in Campion’s absence, as she was still in Los Angeles, California, as she attended the Directors Guild of America awards on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Cumberbatch, he was beaten to the leading actor prize by Will Smith, who was celebrated for his portrayal of the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in the biopic, King Richard. The stage is now set for the Oscars, with Smith tipped to take home the award at the glamorous American ceremony in a fortnight, with Campion also slated to win in her own respective category across the pond.
Celebrating Campion and Cumberbatch’s triumph with The Power of the Dog, BAFTAs host Rebel Wilson revealed a cake that she had made in the shape of Cumberbatch’s face before eating the cheekbone, “so I can tell people I had him inside me”.
The awards were decided by the entire 7,000 members of the British Film Academy, which has had a significant change of personnel since the considerable backlash it faced two years ago due to the lack of diversity in its shortlists.
220 new rules and regulations have been brought in, including quotas for filmmakers and the compulsory viewing by voters of at least 15 randomly selected titles in contention. Commentators have credited the new rules with helping this year’s diverse range of nominees.
Watch Benedict Cumberbatch accept Campion’s award below.