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Friday, December 9, 2022

‘The Power of the Dog’ comes to a close with an impressive string of triumphs

The Power of the Dog,” a western directed by Jane Campion, won the top prize at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night, closing up an extraordinary weekend of victories that included a Directors Guild Award for Campion as well as BAFTA awards for directing and best picture.

Also winning Critics’ Choice Awards were the Netflix drama’s cinematography and adapted screenplay. This prompted Campion to reflect on the influence of critics throughout his career, which has included one significant Oscar-nominated breakthrough, “The Piano,” and other films that frequently challenged their audiences.

“I’m still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from criticism from earlier in my career,” Campion quipped before taking the stage. “Ouch! “There are some extremely profound hurts.”

Later in the evening, when she received the Best Director award and observed the tennis players and presenters Venus and Serena Williams in the audience, Campion referred to how tough it was for women to achieve in a male-dominated industry that is sometimes inhospitable to female talent.

‘Venus and Serena, you’re both wonders, but you don’t have to fight against guys the way I do,’ Campion said of the female athletes.

The Critics’ Choice Awards had intended to gain greater clout this season by filling the power vacuum left by the Golden Globes, which were cancelled this year due to a series of significant scandals. Instead, the Critics’ Choice Awards were cancelled altogether. However, due of the Omicron surge, an effort to shift the Critics Choice Awards into the Globes’ early-January slot was derailed, and the awards were forced to be held on March 13, a day when many of the film candidates would be in London celebrating the EE British Academy Film Awards, or BAFTAs.

In spite of this, BAFTA winners such as Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) and Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) went up to collect their Critics’ Choice supporting actor awards in a satellite event in London that was shown live as part of the main broadcast.

“It’s like killing two birds with one stone,” Kotsur said.

The victories for Kotsur, DeBose, and Will Smith, who won the lead actor award for “King Richard,” solidify their position as front-runners for the Academy Award for Best Actor, as they have now each won acting awards from the Critics’ Choice, the British Academy of Film and Television and the Screen Actors Guild. As a result, the presentation gave Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), who had already won the SAG award for best actress, substantial momentum in what is still a very tight fight for the award.

Smith was there at the event, despite Chastain’s absence. He made the most of his big moment by paying heartfelt respect to his guests, the Williams sisters, whose father he portrays in “King Richard.” Chastain was not in attendance.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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