Benedict Cumberbatch Claps Back At Sam Elliot's Criticism Of The Power Of The Dog

As we get further into 2022, the Oscars race continues to heat up, with films like "Belfast," "The Power of the Dog," and "CODA" emerging as Best Picture frontrunners (via Entertainment Weekly).

"The Power of the Dog," which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, and Kirsten Dunst, is a treatise on toxic masculinity, set against the backdrop of the American West in 1925. Written and directed by Jane Campion, and based on the novel of the same name, the film has garnered praise as "one of Campion's best," as the auteur previously gained praise for her films "The Piano" and "An Angel at My Table" (via the BBC).

Campion is nominated for Best Director at the upcoming Oscars, and is well aware of what a feat it is for a female director to have her film be taken seriously by Academy voters — particularly since only two women have won the Oscar for Best Director, with Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first to do so in 2010 (via CNBC).

"I'm kind of thrilled. I feel like I've had kind of a comeback. I do feel really quite moved. People in the Academy have voted for so many categories," Campion said. "I really feel that the [#]MeToo movement changed everything. I think it was a very dark time in the late '90s. And up to about 2015. It was almost as if nobody was hearing the fact there was such a depth of inequality."

One man's backlash to "The Power of the Dog"

No matter how successful or beloved a piece of art is, there is always going to be someone who doesn't like it, and such is the case for "A Star Is Born" actor Sam Elliott with "The Power of the Dog" (via the New York Post).

Elliott recently appeared on the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" and expressed his displeasure with the film. Elliott called the movie a "piece of s**t," and said its characters called to mind Chippendales dancers. "That's what all these f****ng cowboys in that movie looked like," Elliott said. "They're all running around in chaps and no shirts. There's all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f****ng movie."

Cumberbatch, the star of the film, responded to Elliott's tirade during a BAFTA Film Sessions event. "I'm trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here," Cumberbatch said. However, he noted that Elliott's comments were "very odd."

Cumberbatch then spoke to the importance of depicting characters like his in "The Power of the Dog" to better understand the psyches of those who behave like him in real life. "If we are to understand what poisons the well in men, what creates toxic masculinity," Cumberbatch said, "we need to look [under] the hood of characters like Phil Burbank to see what their struggle is and why that's there in the first place."