Here’s what Jane Campion said while accepting Best Director at the Critics Choice Awards

Jane Campion emerged as the big winner during Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards, winning three major victories from the Critics Choice Association, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director.

Campion’s first opportunity to address the room of celebrity attendees and journalists came late in the show, when she received the Best Director award. The New Zealand-born filmmaker used the top portion of her speech to address the “incredible women” in attendance, including Venus and Serena Williams. The tennis greats appeared at the Critics Choice Awards in support of “King Richard,” the film about their upbringing.

“Venus and Serena, what an honor to be in the room with you,” Campion told the Williams sisters. “I’ve taken up tennis. I truly have, and [“King Richard” star] Will Smith if you want to come over we can do lessons. I would truly love it. I actually had to stop playing because I’ve got tennis elbow.”

Campion’s self-deprecation drew laughs and yelps from the crowd, as she continued, “I’d also just like to give my love out to my fellow — the guys,” she added with a laugh, as Campion was nominated alongside five other directors, all men. “And Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys, like I have to.” The response in the room to that remark was strong, with numerous attendees cheering, including Serena Williams. Later, despite backlash to the remarks on social media, Campion and Venus Williams were shown embracing during a Critics Choice Awards afterparty.

During the same speech, Campion also called out Kirsten Dunst – who portrayed Rose Gordon in “Power of the Dog” – as a “doll”, while also praising the talents of the film’s other stars including Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jesse Plemons, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

At the upcoming 94th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, “The Power of the Dog” holds the most nominations with a total of 12, including Picture, Director for Campion, Actor for Cumberbatch, Supporting Actor for Plemons and Smit-McPhee, Supporting Actress for Dunst, Adapted Screenplay by Campion, Cinematography by Ari Wegner, Film Editing by Peter Sciberras, Original Score by Jonny Greenwood, Production Design by Grant Major and Amber Richards, and Sound by Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie, and Tara Webb.

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