Oscars 2022: Legendary western star Sam Elliot slams Best Picture nominee: ‘What the f**k’

The Power of the Dog official trailer from Netflix

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Netflix have been pushing hard over the last few years for one of their films to take home the Best Picture award from The Academy. 2022 could finally see them achieve this historic feat, but if it was up to Sam Elliot, their new favourite wouldn’t even be a contender. The Power of the Dog is the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring western, that despite puzzling audiences with its cryptic ending, it has earned 12 nominations at the Oscars. Elliot revealed that he hated everything about it especially and took it “f*****g personal.”

The Power of the Dog is the first Oscar-nominated movie for director Jane Campion in almost 30 years since 1993’s The Piano. It has received almost universal critical praise, but Elliot has found it to be an affront to the cowboy way of life.

The 77-year-old star is known for his fair share of Westerns, including the new Paramount series 1883, Netflix’s The Ranch, FX’s Justified and the movie Tombstone. In fact, his film debut was in 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Speaking on the newest episode of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, the Big Lebowski star said: “Yeah, you want to talk about that piece of s**t? There was a f*****g full page ad out in the LA Times, and it talked about the evisceration of the American myth, and I thought: ‘What the f**k’”.

From here, this criticism only became more brutal.

He took aim at the themes of sexuality in the film, adding: “They’re running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie.” He compared the actors to Chippendale performers, saying they “wear bowties and not much else.”

Elliot slated the movie for filming outside of the American West. Campion was born in New Zealand and chose to shoot the movie there. (One of its Oscar nominations is for Best Cinematography, with the movie snapping up a total of 12 categories overall).

He said: “Why the f**k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? I just came from Texas where I was hanging out with families – not men – but families. Big, long, extended, multiple-generation families that made their livings… And their lives were all about being about cowboys. And boy, when I f***ing saw that [movie], I thought, “What the f**k”.”

Maron tried to defend the film, but it did little to sway the star.

The host explained that the homosexual themes of the movie are literally what it’s about and help contexualise the ending of the film. Elliot simply hit back with: “Where’s the western in this western? ‘I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his f*****g chaps.”

He explained: “He had two pairs of chaps – a woolly pair and a leather pair. ‘And every f*****g time he would walk in from somewhere – he never was on a horse – he’d walk in to the f*****g house, storm up the f*****g stairs, go lay in his bed, in his chaps and play the banjo.”

The Power of the Dog is the race for Best Picture against Belfast, Coda, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley and West Side Story.

Campion is also in the running for Best Directing. If she wins, she would only be the third female filmmaker to take home the prize after Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 with The Hurt Locker and Chloe Zhao in 2021 with Nomadland.

The Power of the Dog is available to watch exclusively on Netflix.

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