How Netflix’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ became an Oscars powerhouse

'The Power of the Dog'
Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in “The Power of the Dog.”

Director Jane Campion made her history-making return to the big screen after 12 years with “The Power of the Dog,” earning a leading 12 nominations for the 2022 Oscars. The Benedict Cumberbatch-led drama also stars real-life couple Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, with a scene-stealing standout turn from Kodi Smit-McPhee. All four actors earned nominations this year.

The film, described by Times film critic Justin Chang as “a psychological thriller in the guise of a western, and possibly a love story in the guise of a psychological thriller,” also boasts nominations for cinematography (making director of photography Ari Wegner only the second woman ever nominated in that category), directing, film editing, original score, best picture, production design, sound and adapted screenplay.

As chronicled by The Times, “The Power of the Dog” began its journey to awards season success by screening at all four key fall film festivals — it world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and also played Telluride, Toronto and New York. Despite its early status as the “movie to beat” this awards season, the film has hit some stumbling blocks along the way. If it wins the best picture Oscar, it would be the first film from streaming behemoth Netflix to ever receive the honor.