Actor Sam Elliott made it quite clear that he is not a fan of this year’s multi-award winning and top Oscar nominated cowboy film, The Power of the Dog. During an appearance on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, Elliott even went as far as calling the movie a “piece of shit” with “allusions of homosexuality.” The film’s director Jane Campion responded to his remarks this past weekend on the Directors’ Guild Awards red carpet, just prior to snagging her Best Director win.
Speaking to Variety on Saturday, Campion pretty much eviscerated Elliott: “I think it’s really unfortunate and sad for him because he’s really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia… I don’t like that. I think he was being a little bit of a b-i-t-c-h. Plus he’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor.”
Adding insult to injury, Campion went on: “When [Elliott] gets out of hair and makeup, I’ll meet him down at the OK Corral on the set with Doctor Strange, and we will shoot it out.” She was of course referring to Power of the Dog star and Oscar nominee, Benedict Cumberbatch. “Look.. the West is a mythic space and there’s plenty of room on the range.”
During Elliott’s assessment of the film to Maron, he compared the cowboy characters in Campion’s Western to Chippendales dancers who “wear bow ties and not much else” and who are “running around in chaps and no shirts.” He also called out New Zealander Campion for making an American story, saying, “What the f-ck does this woman from down there know about the American West?”
Elliott, now starring in the old west saga 1883 on Paramount Plus, has famously played cowboys in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Tombstone, and countless other western style films, so the 77-year-old actor clearly considers himself an expert on the subject matter.
Since Elliot’s trashing of the movie, many of its stars—Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee—have commented cryptically on the actor’s quite negative pronouncement. At a BAFTA event last week, Cumberbatch called Elliott’s comments “very odd.” And Friday night at the premiere of Jesse Plemons’ new film Windfall, the actor said Elliott’s comments just made him laugh.
But it’s the film’s director, Campion, who’s certainly gotten the last laugh. On Sunday night, she took home two Critics Choice Awards: for Best Director and Best Picture. Saturday night March 12, she took home the Director’s Guild Award over luminaries like Steven Spielberg and Campion’s s only the third woman to have won the DGA (the others were Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008) Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (2021). On Sunday March 13, Campion’s winning streak continued as she picked up BAFTA awards for Best Director and Best Picture at the ceremony in London.
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