Dame Elizabeth Jane Campion DNZM is a New Zealand director, screenwriter, and producer. She became the second woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the first female filmmaker to receive the Palme d'Or; both of these achievements came for The Piano (1993). She also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the same film. At the 78th Venice International Film Festival, she won the Silver Lion award for directing The Power of the Dog (2021). Campion is also known for directing the films An Angel at My Table (1990), Holy Smoke! (1998), and Bright Star (2009).
Campion made Oscar history as the first female director to be nominated for Best Director twice, for The Power of the Dog. She was previously nominated in the category for The Piano in 1994, but won in the original screenplay category. Campion is the eighth woman to break through in Oscar’s Best Director category. She is also the first woman to be nominated twice in the screenplay categories, this year in Adapted for Power of the Dog, and prior for The Piano.
From the beginning of her career, Campion's work has received high praise from critics all around. In V.W. Wexman's "Jane Campion: Interviews" (1999), critic David Thomson describes Campion "as one of the best young directors in the world today." Similarly, in Sue Gillett's "More Than Meets The Eye: The Mediation of Affects in Jane Campion's Sweetie," Campion's work is described as "perhaps the fullest and truest way of being faithful to the reality of experience"; by utilizing the "unsayable" and "unseeable," she manages to catalyze audience speculation. Campion's films tend to gravitate around themes of gender politics, such as seduction and female sexual power. This has led some to label Campion's body of work as feminist. However, Rebecca Flint Marx argues, "while not inaccurate, [the feminist label] fails to fully capture the dilemmas of her characters and the depth of her work."
Campion was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year Honours, for services to film.
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