The 94th Academy Awards show was definitely a night to remember for many reasons. But let's direct our attention to one of the highlights that deserves our undivided attention: Jane Campion's win.
The New Zealand-born director was on sabbatical from filmmaking for over a decade since her last feature film, 2009's Bright Star. But she definitely came back in a big way with her unconventional Western drama, adapted from Thomas Savage's 1967 novel, The Power of the Dog. On Sunday night, she took home the Oscar for the Best Director category, marking the first time in history that the title has gone to women in back-to-back years, with last year's going to Chloé Zhao for Nomadland.
Campion is also only the third woman to win the category in the almost century-long tradition of the awards. She beat her male colleagues Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car).
“Big love to my fellow nominees. I love you all, you’re all so extraordinary talented,” she said during her acceptance speech. "I love directing because it’s a deep dive into story, yet the task of manifesting a world can be overwhelming. The sweet thing is I’m not alone." She then proceeded to thank actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst, Jessie Plemons, and the production crew behind the film.
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“But it would be impossible without the man I never met, Thomas Savage. He wrote about cruelty, wanting the opposite, kindness,” Campion added. “Thank you, Academy, it’s a lifetime honor.”
Campion is also the first woman to be nominated twice for the Academy Award for directing. Her work was recognized back in 1994 for The Piano, though Spielberg won for Schindler's List. Still, that year she won for Best Original Screenplay.
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