Closing The Gap

Nearly three decades after her first nomination, Jane Campion becomes third woman to win best director Oscar

Jane Campion attends the 2021 AFI Fest - Official Screening of Netflix's "The Power of the Dog" at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 11, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Jane Campion made history as the third woman to win best director at the Oscars on March 27. Campion is also the first woman to be nominated for the prestigious Academy Award twice.

Campion, 67, took home the golden statuette for the 2021 western psychological drama "The Power of the Dog," based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. 

The plot revolves around two rancher brothers in 1925 Montana whose relationship becomes strained after the younger brother marries a widow, whose son is studying to become a surgeon. The star-studded film features Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Campion's film raked in 12 nominations at the 2022 Oscars, including best picture and best cinematography, but only won best director. In 1994, Campion was nominated for "The Piano," a drama following a mute piano player and her daughter set in mid-19th-century New Zealand. Despite losing the best director award that year, Campion won the Academy Award for best original screenplay.

In her acceptance speech, Campion expressed her love for her fellow nominees and reminisced on the hard work of the actors and crew who brought the story to life.

"I love directing because it's a deep dive into story, yet the task of manifesting a world can be overwhelming," she said. "The sweet thing is… I'm not alone."

Campion was the only woman nominated for best director this year, going up against veterans like Steven Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh and Paul Thomas Anderson. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, director of "Drive My Car" was the only nominee with no previous directing nominations.

Other notable wins of the night include Troy Kotsur, 53, who became the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting. The 53-year-old American actor took home the trophy for best actor in a supporting role for his work in "CODA," a movie about a hearing teenager who works with her deaf family in their fishing business, but secretly dreams of studying music.

"CODA", an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults, also won best adapted screenplay and best picture, making Apple the first streaming service to win the award.

Kotsur was visibly overcome with emotion and gratitude as he accepted his first Oscar.

"This is dedicated to the Deaf community, the 'CODA' community and the disabled community," Kotsur said during his speech. "This is our moment."

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