Awards Buzz

Awards Focus: The Power of the Dog

28 Feb 2022 | 3 MINS READ
Curzon

With the BAFTAs and Oscars right around the corner, we're taking stock of the top contenders. First up, is Jane Campion's brooding Western The Power of the Dog.

Gone are the days of one film sweeping all major awards, but Jane Campion’s 1920s-set Western starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a bullying, rough-hewn rancher is certainly the frontrunner in a number of categories. Her taut psychological thriller The Power of the Dog has been a critics’ darling and festival favourite since it was first unveiled at Venice last September, where Campion picked up the Silver Lion for Best Director.

Since then, cinematographer Ari Wegner received the Artisan Award at Toronto and the film has topped several critics’ best-of-the-year lists (including The Guardian’s). It has been shortlisted for 12 Academy Awards and eight BAFTAs, making it the most nominated film with both institutions. 

In terms of categories, Campion appears to have little major competition for Best Director. If she wins, she will be the third female filmmaker to do so, after Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008) and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland (2020). She also leads the way in the Adapted Screenplay category. Having previously won for The Piano (1993), if she scored again she would become the only woman to nab two screenplay Oscars. It’s likely that she’ll enjoy the same success at the BAFTAs, but there may be surprises with home-grown talent, or even Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s  Drive My Car, which is undoubtedly a key player.

Ari Wegner and Jane Campion on set

Ari Wegner and Jane Campion on set

Elsewhere, Ari Wegner looks like another frontrunner in the cinematography race, but with tough competition from Dune, Nightmare Alley and The Tragedy of Macbeth, this is one of the most difficult categories to call. The Power of the Dog is also well placed in two of the acting categories. If Will Smith appears to be a shoo-in for Best Actor – certainly at Oscar and quite possibly at BAFTA – Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons stand a chance of taking home Supporting Actor on either side of the Atlantic (although two performers being nominated for the same movie may result in a vote split). Kirsten Dunst, meanwhile, was snubbed at BAFTA and will probably lose out to West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose at Oscar.

The Power of the Dog (2021)

The Power of the Dog (2021)

The craft categories are also tight at this stage, however Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (who this year also continued his collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson on Licorice Pizza and contributed stunning free-jazz melodies to Spencer) leads the way with his evocative counterpoint to the classic Western score. (Although count out Hans Zimmer and his blaring electronic work on Dune at your peril.) 

As for Best Film, it’s looking like a split between The Power of the Dog and Kenneth Branagh’s more heartwarming Belfast.

WATCH THE POWER OF THE DOG IN CINEMAS

   

nominations tally 

BAFTA 

Best Film 

Best Director, Jane Campion 

Best Actor, Benedict Cumberbatch 

Best Supporting Actor, Jesse Plemons

Best Supporting Actor, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Best Screenplay (Adapted) 

Best Cinematography

Best Original Score

Oscar 

Best Picture

Best Director, Jane Campion 

Best Actor, Benedict Cumberbatch

Best Supporting Actor, Jesse Plemons 

Best Supporting Actor, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Best Supporting Actress, Kirsten Dunst 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Cinematography

Best Film Editing

Best Original Score

Best Production Design 

Best Sound

Curzon

Tags