Oscars 2022: ‘The Power of the Dog’ Has Already Made History

The 2022 Academy Awards are only weeks away. And Hollywood’s biggest night promises to be a game-changing one. After all, even the nominations have changed Oscars history. Fans and industry insiders alike are curious to see which of the 10 nominated films walks away with Best Picture. But that category’s frontrunner, The Power of the Dog, marks a major shift in the Best Director race. Here’s how Jane Campion broke barriers at the 2022 Oscars.

Pete Hammond, Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit McPhee sit in chairs on stage in front of 'The Power of the Dog' logo
Pete Hammond, Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit McPhee | Rich Polk/Getty Images for Deadline

‘The Power of the Dog’ leads the 2022 Oscar nominees

Going into the 2022 Academy Awards, many fans speculated about how the nominations might shake out. After all, effects-heavy sci-fi epic Dune and lavish Hollywood musical West Side Story were both positioned to land technical nods as well as slots in above-the-line categories. And indeed, those movies — directed by Denis Villeneuve and Steven Spielberg, respectively — were among the releases which dominated the 2022 Oscar nominations.

In the end, Dune received 10 Oscar nominations. And West Side Story tied with Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast for seven nods. But The Power of the Dog topped them all with an astounding 12 nominations. Four of these nods come in the acting categories, with stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee all nominated. However, Campion’s nod for Best Director is the one that established an Academy Awards milestone.

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The Netflix movie’s Academy Award nods are a huge deal

The Power of the Dog is the best opportunity yet for Netflix to win a Best Picture Oscar. The film could be the turning point for the Academy Awards to finally award a streaming movie the top prize. Netflix has gotten close a few times, most notably with 2018’s Roma. Still, The Power of the Dog‘s Best Picture nomination doesn’t break any new ground. Its nod for Campion as Best Director, on the other hand, is a different story entirely.

The 2022 Academy Award nominations recognized Campion as one of the five best directors of the past year in movies. Of course, the Oscars have historically only nominated female filmmakers a handful of times. The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow and Nomadland‘s Chloé Zhao are the only ones to win Best Directors. And now Campion is the first woman nominated in the category more than once. Moreover, most pundits expect her to win this time.

Jane Campion’s latest could earn her a second Oscar now

The Power of the Dog is also the first movie directed by a female filmmaker to receive more than 10 Oscar nominations. That’s a testament to the strength of the team Campion assembled to bring her vision to life. And while the film is almost certain to win several awards on Oscar night, a Campion win wouldn’t be her first.

In 1994, she lost Best Director for The Piano to Spielberg for Schindler’s List. However, she did win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar that year. Schindler’s List, meanwhile, took home the Best Adapted Screenplay award that year. With both Campion and Spielberg in the mix again this year, fans will no doubt be watching closely to see who wins.

The 94th Academy Awards airs on ABC on March 27, 2022.

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