Jane Campion wins directing Oscar for ‘Power of the Dog’

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LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — Jane Campion’s sabbatical from moviemaking has garnered the respect and admiration of her peers.

Campion, whose last feature film was 2009’s “Bright Star,” was honored as Best Director at Sunday’s Academy Awards for the unconventional western “The Power of the Dog.”

The 67-year-old filmmaker’s win marks the first time women directing the award, with Chloe Zhao winning last year for “Nomadland.” Campion is the third woman to win in the category.

The New Zealand native described the award as a “lifelong honour”, adding, “Big love to my fellow nominees…. you are all so extraordinary, and it could be any of you.”

Campion thanked the film’s stars, its producers, and Netflix, saying, “I love directing because it’s a deep dive into the story, yet the task of revealing a world can be overwhelming. The best part is that I’m not alone.”

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“The Power of the Dog,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Cody Smit-McPhee, is based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel about wealthy rancher brothers and is set in Montana in 1925. Everyone got acting bids.

Campion, the first woman to be nominated twice for directing, won a field that featured Steven Spielberg for his remake of “West Side Story.” When Campion received his directorial debut in 1994 for “The Piano,” Spielberg won the trophy for “Schindler’s List.”

Her 1994 nomination made her only the second woman to compete in the category, following Lena Wertmüller’s groundbreaking bid in 1977 for “Seven Beauties”. Campion won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “The Piano”, with Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin receiving acting trophies.

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Campion’s win on Sunday made her the first woman to win both the directing and writing awards.

Since the award’s inception in 1927, a total of seven women have competed in the Best Director category. Kathryn Bigelow won for the first time in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker”, with Zhao winning more than a decade later.

Campion was not idle during the break from filmmaking. He co-produced the TV series “Top of the Lake”, which received eight Emmy nominations and an award for its first season in 2013. Campion shared writing and directing.

She returned to film by Savage’s novel, which she called a “wonderful piece of literature”, and the realization that, while she enjoyed making TV series, she was ready to embrace the framework of filmmaking again.

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“The discipline and rigor of those two hours was something I was excited to go back to,” Campion told the Associated Press last year.

Others nominated in the directing category this year were Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza,” Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast” and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, for “Drive My Car.”

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For more information on Associated Press’s Oscar coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards

Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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