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A Star Is Born's Sam Elliott Has Some Seriously Harsh Words For Benedict Cumberbatch's The Power Of The Dog

Sam Elliott in 1883 and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog
(Image credit: Paramount/Netflix)

With the 2022 Oscars just a few weeks away, many cinephiles are catching up on this year’s Best Picture nominees, which includes Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. The Netflix release starring Benedict Cumberbatch led the Academy Award nominations for 2021’s finest films, with recognition in an incredible 12 categories, including Best Picture. However, Sam Elliott, who frequents the western genre, has shared why he thinks the movie is a “piece of shit.” 

Sam Elliott is currently the star of Paramount+’s 1883, which takes place in the American West. When the 77-year-old actor was asked if he caught up with The Power of the Dog on WTF with Marc Maron, he had some brutal words for the film. In Elliott’s words: 

What the fuck does this woman [Jane Campion], she’s a brilliant director, I love her previous work, but what the fuck does this woman from New Zealand know about the American West? And why the fuck did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say, ‘This is the way it was.’ That fucking rubbed me the wrong way. And the myth is that they were these macho men out there with cattle. I’d just fucking come from Texas, where I was hanging out with families, not men, but families, big long extended families multiple generation families who have made their living and their lives were all about being cowboys. And boy, when I fucking saw [The Power of the Dog], I thought what the fuck? Where are we in this world today?

While speaking to Marc Maron, Sam Elliott started by sharing that he’d seen a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times where the movie was being praised for being an “evisceration of the American myth.” As someone who has done “westerns forever” and had just been in Texas recently shooting 1883, he was not pleased with how writer/director Jane Campion depicted the genre and the west. As the Star Is Born actor continued: 

I mean Benedict Cumberbatch never got out of his fucking chaps. He had two pairs of chaps, a wooly pair and a leather pair. And every time he’d walk in from somewhere he was never on a horse. Maybe once. He’d walk into the fucking house, storm up the fucking stairs, go lay on his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. And it’s like what the fuck? Where’s the western in this western?

Elliott also compared the characters in The Power of the Dog to Chippendales, saying that the “fucking cowboys” in the film reminded him of the male striptease troupe. The actor spoke to catching on to the “allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie” as well, to which had Maron responding, saying “I think that’s what the movie is about.” 

The comments are inspiring fans to call out Sam Elliott about the history of westerns, including another queer focused film within the genre called Brokeback Mountain along with the popular “Spaghetti Westerns,” famously produced in Europe, also about the American west. As one Twitter user pointed out: 

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You can form your own opinion on The Power of the Dog with a Netflix subscription. The movie was widely praised by critics and audiences alike. Along with the movie being up for Best Picture, Jane Campion was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Benedict Cumberbatch is in the Best Actor race for his leading role along with Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee being recognized for their performances. The Power of the Dog is also competing in the Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing , Best Score and Best Sound categories when the 2022 Oscars air later this month. 

You can tune into the Oscars on March 27. We’ll keep you updated with the the Academy Awards here on CinemaBlend.  

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.