The 2022 Oscar nominee for best picture, Mighty Dog could make history with wins for Jane Campion and Ari Wegner

LOS ANGELES — Not only is “The Power of the Dog” the putative frontrunner for best picture, the brooding western could also make Oscar history.

Jane Campion is the first woman to be nominated twice for Best Director (the first being in 1993’s The Piano) and is expected to be only the third woman to win the category. It would be the first time in consecutive years that the director award has gone to a woman, after Chloé Zhao, the filmmaker of “Nomadland”, won last year.

And Ari Wegner, the film’s cinematographer, could become the first woman to ever win the award. She is only the second woman to be nominated in this category.

MORE: Ari Wegner aims to make Oscar history as the first woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography

A Best Picture award could also mean streamer Netflix’s first win at Hollywood’s premier awards show. The film has already gained momentum with major wins at the British Academy Film Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

“The Power of the Dog” is also a contender for Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Supporting Actor (Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee), Best Supporting Actress (Kirsten Dunst), the adapted screenplay, production design, editing, sound and score.

The cast battled the extreme conditions of the New Zealand countryside to transport audiences to a secluded ranch in 1920s Montana and create an unforgettable play about human fragility.

“It would have been hard to find Montana in Montana in 1925,” laughed Campion. “There are parts of New Zealand that are really so empty… beautiful, forgotten landscapes.”

The story is based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel about wealthy rancher brothers whose tenuous bond is further strained when one (Plemons) marries a widow (Dunst) with an adolescent son (Smit-McPhee).

At the 78th Venice International Film Festival, Campion said she was immersed in “The Power of the Dog” and deeply impressed by the world Savage created and the characters he drew.

“As a creative person, I don’t really do math. I read this book and just thought this was an amazing piece of literature,” said Campion. “Scenes and themes from the book kept coming back to me and I couldn’t forget it. I realized it was a really deep piece.”

Returning to its usual home, the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, the 94th Academy Awards will be streamed live on ABC from 8pm ET / 7pm CT / 5pm PT.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 All rights reserved. The 2022 Oscar nominee for best picture, Mighty Dog could make history with wins for Jane Campion and Ari Wegner

Dais Johnston

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