‘The Power of the Dog’: Where Was the Movie Filmed?
The Power of the Dog is nominated for 12 Oscars at the 94th Academy Awards. Not only is Jane Campion the likely winner of Best Director, but the Western drama itself could be gunning for the top prize. And if it wins, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog could be the first Best Picture winner released directly through a streaming service. Of course, there’s a long history of Westerns getting awards love. But where was the picturesque The Power of the Dog filmed?
‘The Power of the Dog’ takes place in 1920s Montana
For The Power of the Dog, Campion assembled a talented cast of actors. Among them are Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse Plemons. The story — based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel — focuses on a rancher (Cumberbatch), whose world turns upside down when his brother (Plemons) takes a wife (Dunst). And in addition to the character-based story, Campion hones in on the idyllic setting of 1920s Montana.
The filming locations in The Power of the Dog add a lot to the story Campion — who also wrote the film — is telling. And it’s also a big part of why the movie managed to attract so many Oscar nominations. Campion’s first movie in 12 years, The Power of the Dog captures the essence of an entire genre but does something new with its trappings.
But Jane Campion shot it somewhere else instead
Although The Power of the Dog feels like a piece of Americana brought to the big screen, the movie actually wasn’t shot in the United States at all. According to The Los Angeles Times, Campion initially planned to film the movie in Montana. But she was unable to do so for budgetary reasons, Campion explained.
“I felt sick about not shooting [in Montana]. It was my idea for a long time. But then budget reality hit. A lot of fantastic old ranch houses had been renovated as resorts. Or turned into second homes that were half authentic, half fabulous kitchens. We looked and looked, but we didn’t find anything, and the cost of building the ranch house and a fake town there turned out to be incredibly expensive items.”
Instead, The Power of the Dog filmed in Campion’s native New Zealand. Thankfully, the director and her team were able to make it work, pinpointing locations that convincingly doubled for the story’s setting. As it turned out, most viewers probably wouldn’t even notice the difference.
Will Benedict Cumberbatch and company win Oscars?
Campion’s movie has yet to win any Academy Awards. But judging by sites like Gold Derby — which tracks awards season odds and predictions — The Power of the Dog is in line to take multiple awards home on Oscar night. Among the predicted winners is Campion herself, who must overcome Steven Spielberg for West Side Story. Campion previously lost the Best Director trophy in 1994 to Spielberg, who won for Schindler’s List.
Likewise, Cumberbatch, Dunst, and Smit-McPhee are all very much in their respective races. Right now, Cumberbatch and Dunst are hot on the heels of Will Smith and Ariana DeBose in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress right now. Meanwhile, Smit-McPhee is currently in the lead for Best Supporting Actor, outpacing Troy Kotsur and even his own The Power of the Dog co-star, Plemons.
The 94th Academy Awards air on ABC on March 27, 2022.