Jane Campion sets one Oscar record with ‘The Power of the Dog’ and could soon break another

Nearly three decades have passed since Jane Campion reaped a pair of Oscar bids for directing and writing “The Piano.” She was the second woman to pull off this double play after Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties,” 1977). Campion won Best Original Screenplay but lost Best Director to Steven Spielberg (“Schindler’s List”).

Now, she and Spielberg face off in a long-awaited rematch, having earned nominations for helming “The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story,” respectively. She is now the first two-time female nominee in the history of the Best Director category. The prize has only gone to two women in the past, and it took 82 years for that glass ceiling to be broken. Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) achieved that historical feat in 2010, and Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) followed in her footsteps just last year.

In addition to Wertmüller, the directing category’s small group of female also-rans consists of Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” 2004), Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird,” 2018), and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman,” 2021). Coppola and Fennell did win Best Original Screenplay Oscars for their films, while Gerwig and Zhao respectively received nominations for their original and adapted scripts.

At 67, Campion would rank as the third oldest Best Director winner, behind only Clint Eastwood (74, “Million Dollar Baby,” 2005) and Roman Polanski (69, “The Pianist,” 2003). She is the second oldest nominee in the current lineup behind 75-year-old Spielberg, who would set an new age milestone if he were to prevail.

The 28-year gap between Campion’s two directing nominations is the third largest of all time. John Huston holds the record with 33 years between his fourth bid for “Moulin Rouge” (1953) and his fifth for “Prizzi’s Honor” (1986). In second place is Campion’s fellow 2022 nominee, Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”), who was first recognized here 32 years ago for “Henry V” (1990).

In addition to finally attaining a directing victory, Campion could leave the 94th Oscars ceremony with her first Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture trophies in hand.

Should she prevail for her screenplay based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel, Campion would become the first woman to conquer both writing categories. To date, the only female writers to have won twice at all are Frances Marion (“The Big House,” 1930 and “The Champ,” 1932; both original) and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (“A Room with a View,” 1987 and “Howards End,” 1993; both adapted).

Our odds presently reflect the long-held consensus that Campion will take home all three of the awards for which she is competing. Her closest competitor in the Best Adapted Screenplay race is Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”), followed in order by Sian Heder (“CODA”), Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe (“Drive My Car”), and Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts, and Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”).

We expect that Spielberg will not pose much of a threat to Campion’s Best Director chances this time, as he is pulling up the rear in our ranking. Between the two of them in the middle three slots are Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”), Branagh, and Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”). “The Power of the Dog” is also running far ahead of its competition in the Best Picture contest. Our odds point to “Belfast” being the most likely alternative, followed in order by “West Side Story,” “Dune,” “Licorice Pizza,” “King Richard,” “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” and “Nightmare Alley.”

“The Power of the Dog” is this year’s nominations leader with a total of 12. Aside from Campion’s clean sweep, we further predict that it will score a win in the category of Best Supporting Actor (Kodi Smit-McPhee). It is also up for Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actor (Jesse Plemons), Best Supporting Actress (Kirsten Dunst), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Score, and Best Sound.

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