LOS ANGELES— Jane Campion received the Academy Award for best director on Sunday for her gothic Western “The Power of the Dog,” becoming the third woman in the Oscars‘ 94-year-old history to take home a prize in a field still dominated by men in Hollywood.
The New Zealand native joins Kathryn Bigelow and Chloe Zhao as the only women to have received the honor for directing.
“I love directing because it’s a deep dive into story, yet the task of manifesting a world can be overwhelming,” Campion said in her acceptance speech, which she read from a sheet of paper.
“The sweet thing is I am not alone,” she added, and then thanked her film’s cast and crew.
Campion, 67, was nominated previously for her 1993 drama “The Piano.” She lost the directing award that year to Steven Spielberg, who landed the trophy for “Schindler’s List,” but won the Oscar for best original screenplay.
Spielberg was in the mix again this year for his remake of classic musical “West Side Story,” as was Kenneth Branagh for his semi-autobiographical drama “Belfast.”
No woman besides Campion has been nominated for best director more than once. She recently described herself as “the grandmother of the women’s movement in film.”
“Power of the Dog” is a tale of machismo and revenge set in 1925 Montana and based on a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Shot in New Zealand, the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a cruel, twisted ranch owner who sets out to torment his brother’s new wife, played by Kirsten Dunst.
The movie was Campion’s first since 2009. She recently worked in television, creating and writing acclaimed drama series “Top of the Lake.”
Zhao won best director last year for “Nomadland,” while Bigelow received the honor for 2008 drama “The Hurt Locker.”
—Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Nichola Groom; Editing by Sandra Maler and Howard Goller