CODA was released by Apple TV+, which beat out Netflix competitor Campion’s The power of the dog and other mainstream Hollywood studio entries.
“I really want to thank the academy for recognizing a film of love and family in this difficult time that we need today,” said producer Patrick Wachsberger in front of the cast of the film on stage.
Hollywood’s most prestigious awards show returned to full pomp at the Dolby Theater after pandemic restrictions limited the event last year.
The upbeat atmosphere was disrupted when Best Actor winner Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock on stage for a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock referenced the 1997 film G.I. Janein which actress Demi Moore shaved her head.
Smith slapped Rock in what first appeared to be a scripted joke. But the theater went dark moments later when Smith, back in his seat, shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” Smith later apologized.
Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for Tammy Faye’s eyes, in which she portrays the rise, fall, and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
No woman besides Campion has been nominated for Best Director more than once. Sunday’s Oscar makes her the first woman to win both directing and writing awards. She recently described herself as “the grandmother of the women’s film movement”.
The power of the dog is a story of machismo and revenge set in 1925 Montana and based on a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Filmed in New Zealand, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a cruel and twisted rancher who sets out to torment his brother’s new wife, played by Kirsten Dunst.
The film was Campion’s first since 2009. She has recently worked in television, creating and writing acclaimed drama series. top of the lake, which in 2013 received eight Emmy nominations and an award for its first season. Campion shared the writing and directing nods.
Since the awards began in 1927, a total of seven women have competed in the Oscar’s Best Director category.
Zhao won Best Director last year for nomadlandwhile Bigelow received the 2008 drama honor The Hurt Locker.
Campion said she was drawn to acting by Savage’s novel, which she called an “amazing piece of literature”, and the realization that while she loved doing the TV series, she was ready to embrace it at again the framework of filmmaking.
“The discipline and rigor of those two hours was something I was excited to get back,” Campion said last year.
Other nominees in the directing category this year were Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza and Ryusuke Hamaguchi for drive my car.