Sam Elliott’s apparent attempt to set himself as the arbiter of all cowboy-based fiction has run into a host of healthy opposition over the past week, none more robust than from the woman he most directly criticized: Jane Campion, director of Oscar-nominated Western The Power Of The Dog.
While many of the stars of Campion’s film have attempted to keep away from Elliott’s comments—both Jesse Plemmons and Kodi Smit-McPhee seemed to wave off the inevitable questions this weekend, and Benedict Cumberbatch diplomatically labeled them as “odd” earlier this week—Campion herself confronted them, calmly and comically, head-on at the Directors Guild Of America Awards this evening.
Asked about Elliott’s various assertions that her movie was “a piece of shit,” an “evisceration of the American myth,” and that Campion, as a woman from New Zealand, had no place making it, the director didn’t mince words—but she did spell one. “I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H,” Campion told Variety’s Marc Malkin. “He’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor.”
Noting, as many have, that some of the best Westerns ever filmed were made by non-Americas, filming outside America, Campion was completely uncowed by Elliott’s disdain, which he vented on a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF. Per Deadline, she later stated that he had “hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia.”
Campion is viewed as a strong contender to win Outstanding Achievement In Feature Film at tonight’s DGAs, which are being held, untelevised, in L.A. this evening. (Judd Apatow is hosting; we’ll have a winner’s list up in a bit.) If she wins tonight, past evidence suggests she has a fairly solid lock on winning Best Director at the Oscars in a few weeks, in which case, it’ll be her first win in the category, after being nominated in 1993 for The Piano.