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Jane Campion Becomes Third Woman To Win Best Director Oscar

Jane Campion Becomes Third Woman To Win Best Director Oscar

Kathryn Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker, and Chloé Zhao won last year for Nomadland

Jane Campion has become the third woman in Oscar history to win Best Director.

Only seven women have been nominated for Best Director since the first Academy Awards: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties; Jane Campion for The Piano; Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation; Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker; Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird; and last year alone, Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman.

Prior to tonight's awards, only two won: Bigelow and Zhao. Now, for the second year in a row, a female director has emerged victorious once more: Campion for Netflix's The Power of the Dog.

Jane Campion, director of The Power of the Dog.

Campion won over Steven Spielberg for West Side Story, Kenneth Branagh for Belfast, Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car.

She faced off against Spielberg in 1993 for The Piano, but he took home the prize for Schindler's List. It should also be noted, Campion is the first woman to get a second Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Campion's film, based on Thomas Savage's 1967 novel of the same, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as ranch-owning brothers in 1925 Montana. George (Plemons) is quiet, kind-hearted and a bit lonely, finding solace in the affection of Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a local inn owner and widow.

Phil (Cumberbatch), inspired by his former mentor ‘Bronco Henry’, isn’t the nicest chap. He’s volatile and often cruel to those around him, met with laughs from some and tears from others – including Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Rose's son.

The Power of the Dog has been one of the leading contenders of this year's awards season, nabbing 12 Oscar nominations in total, including Best Picture and acting nominations for its cast.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. (Netflix)
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. (Netflix)

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Campion said: "Well, it really did bring a tear to me. I felt really emotional and a sort of gratitude actually that the Academy have so widely embraced so many of our team for this film.

"I think it’s a kind of complex film, so it meant a lot that they graced us with so many nominations. Absolutely a thrill for everybody."

However, in the weeks prior to the Oscars, the film generated headlines around Sam Elliott's criticism, who branded it a 'piece of sh*t', also stating that its portrayal of America's west felt 'f*cking personal'.

Speaking to Variety, Campion then responded: "I'm sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He's not a cowboy; he's an actor. The West is a mythic space and there's a lot of room on the range."

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Featured Image Credit: Credit: Alamy/Netflix

Topics: Oscars, Entertainment, Film and TV