Oscars: Jane Campion wins best director for The Power of the Dog

Source: 1News

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion has won the best director Oscar for her film The Power of the Dog.

Jane Campion accepts the Directing award for The Power of the Dog from Kevin Costner

In her winning speech, Campion said it's a lifetime honour.

"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. On The Power of the Dog I worked with actors I move to call my friends. They met the challenge of this story with the depth of their gifts."

She told her fellow nominees any of them could have won, “you are all extraordinarily talented.”

Campion also paid tribute to all those who worked on the film, Netflix and her family.

The western-style psychological drama is set in Montana, in the United States - but was filmed in New Zealand - Dunedin, Oamaru and central Otago with sound stages in Auckland used as well.

The film came in to this years Academy Awards with 11 other Oscar nominations including best picture, best actor and best supporting actress.

Stars including Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst rode out New Zealand's Covid -19 lockdowns in 2020 to finish filming, with Netflix picking up the multi-million dollar cost blow out.

The award-winning director has been working on television and small screen features for more than a decade, but in 2019 negotiated the rights to sell The Power of the Dog to Netflix - but not before it went into theatres, albeit for a short time.

It only made NZ$180,000 in its first weekend at the box office - but has since been streamed 1.2 million times on the US platform.

Campion's decision to film in New Zealand wasn't just based on a cost comparison - she says the crew made all the difference.

"I love New Zealand crews because they really get involved in the project, it actually means something to them to be working on a film they love," she told Indiewire last year.

The film employed 328 Kiwi crew, and 27 New Zealanders were in the cast including actress Thomasin McKenzie.

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The film also took out the the top prize at the 2022 Directors Guild Awards and Campion was named best director at BAFTAs (British Academy Film Awards) earlier this month.

She is also the first women to be nominated twice for best director.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern congratulated Campion on her win.

"Thank you for once again for putting New Zealand on the world stage, displaying just how beautiful our country is with her talent, her skills, and her storytelling," Ardern said.

She said Aotearoa was making the most of Campion's multiple wins, with members of New Zealand's film commission already in the US talking to studios to try and attract additional productions to the country.

"It's a phenomenal outcome. I know we're all very proud of her."