Campion’s ‘Power of the Dog’ adds Critics Choice wins
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Jane Campion rounded off a perfect weekend in Hollywood's award season by winning the top prizes at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday, setting her dark Western "The Power of the Dog" as the film to beat at the Oscars.
Campion -- who has already won prestigious gongs from Hollywood’s directors guild and Britain's BAFTA in a packed weekend -- took best picture and best director at the high-profile awards gala in Los Angeles.
The film's award charge comes just days before Oscars voting begins on Thursday, with the grand Academy Awards ceremony itself to be held in Hollywood on March 27.
"We are so proud and so grateful to the Critics Choice Awards for choosing us. I've still got some PTSD from critics going back to early in my career!" said Campion.
"I'm like the grandmother in the women’s movement in film now. But I'm still here," added Campion, who was up against a slate of all-male directors.
Addressing Venus and Serena Williams in the star-studded audience, Campion said: "Serena and Venus you are such marvels -- however you do not play against the guys as I have to," joked Campion.
The tennis greats cheered as Oscars frontrunner Will Smith added to his BAFTA best actor win earlier in the day for his performance as their father, coach and manager in "King Richard."
Smith thanked the sisters in his acceptance speech, telling them he had seen "the secret, scary, hard places that you went out on that court, and you smiled and you did your job.
"Serena didn't smile all the time on court," he joked of the 23-time Grand Slam winner, whose fiery temper has left her at loggerheads with officials on occasions.
Jessica Chastain won best actress for "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," in which she disappeared beneath layers of the US televangelist's trademark heavy makeup.
The supporting acting winners, Troy Kotsur of "CODA" and Ariana DeBose of "West Side Story," added to growing award hauls as they too pull ahead as Oscars favorites.
The Critics Choice Awards -- chosen by almost 500 members of North America's largest critics organization -- laid out a lavish red carpet and gala in Los Angeles for Hollywood A-listers, at a ceremony hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer.
On the TV side, "Succession" won best drama, "Ted Lasso" continued its relentless award sweep of the comedy prizes, and "Mare of Easttown" was named best limited series.