Backstage Interview: DIRECTING

Backstage Interview: DIRECTING



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          Q.    Congratulations on your historic win.  You are only the third

                woman in the Academy's history to win the best director trophy.

                Can you talk about this historic win for you?  And


          A.    Well, I am very proud to have won tonight.

                For my film, and for my crew, and for my cast.

                And also, just to be another -- another woman who is going to

                be followed by a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, a seventh, and an

                eighth. I am very excited by the fact that this is moving fast


                And, you know, we need it. Equality matters. Thank you.

          Q.    Your film had 12 Oscar nominations tonight. It is obviously

                very loved. Can you just talk a little bit and just take a

                moment to just praise all of the amazing folks that worked on

                this film?

          A.    I would really love to do that.

                It's -- it is impossible to win an award like Best Directing

                without having an extraordinary team behind you, and I'm

                particularly thinking of my lead actors who really gave

                everything and dug deep to portray these characters:  Benedict

                Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse


                And then there's actually a raft of amazing other craft people

                like Ari Wegner, amazing young woman cinematographer who I

                think is just such a great photo storyteller and always

                stretching for the poetic.  And Grant Major, my designer, just


                Jonny Greenwood, beautiful music. Extraordinary guy.

                Sound team and Peter Sciberras with the editing.  And there's

                even people that aren't nominated here today that I really

                would like to do a yell-out out to, like Noriko Watanabe, who's

                been working with me for 27 years and did makeup, and Kirsty

                Cameron with her costumes.  Thank you.

          Q.    Congratulations.  A lot of people have been saying that you are

                due for this Oscar. So does all feel right in this moment to


          A.    I don't know if it feels right.  You know, I look at the other

                Oscar nominees for best directing, and I think they are all

                extraordinary directors, and I learnt at their feet.

                So, you know, maybe this time it's me, but, you know, maybe

                it's a lottery.  I don't know. But I am proud.  I am grateful

                to the Academy for choosing me on this occasion.

          Q.    It's a tremendous film, and I just wanted to say

                congratulations also for winning for Directing after winning

                for writing The Piano almost 30 years ago.

                        I'm wondering how this experience feels different to

                you than that experience, especially because you've been so

                vocal about bringing along a lot of your collaborators

                throughout your career through this process, including a lot of

                your female collaborators, and you get to celebrate that

                tonight as well.

          A.    Well, just going back 27 years ago, when the -- when I won best

                original screenplay.

                I had my daughter four months in my belly, and so it was a very

                different experience.

                You know, and this -- 27 years is a long time. And, you know,

                I've been chugging away, doing things.  And so this is, like, a

                real comeback.  It is beautiful to feel that you can do that,

                you can keep developing as a director and get stronger.

                And, you know, I love working with women because they're --

                because of the beautiful qualities of, you know -- they are

                maternal, they are outspoken, they are emotional, they are

                truthful, they are real, and they are incredibly freaking


          Q.    I just wanted to know, because it is such a dark film at times.

                What was the most challenging part for you as a director?

          A.    Well, darkness never bothers me. What I don't like about

                darkness is when people cover it up.  What I think is, you

                know, great when you are making a film is you are exploring it,

                and you are looking at complexity, and you are dealing with it.

                And also our film is written by a guy called Thomas Savage who

                wrote about cruelty, but he was looking for kindness, really

                thinking about kindness.

                So these are the things that, you know, are challenging for me.

                I mean, there's so many challenges actually.  I could really go

                on about it.  Every day is a challenge.

                But it's -- it's just an awesome, awesome thing when you have a

                story that is so layered, that is so deep, that it really,

                really challenges you and every corner of your psyche to reach

                inside yourself and honor it.

          Q.    It is so good to see you holding that Oscar for Best Director

                in your hands.

                        Jane, what will it take for all the nominees in that

                category to be women and when do you think we'll see that?

          A.    Well, I mean, I don't know what it's going to take, but we're

                doing -- you know, like -- we're going one by one, and that's a

                nice dream.  I like it, you know.

                Thank you. That's a good dream. And I'm really enjoying it.

                But, you know, I -- I'm someone that doesn't really think about

                too much, you know, my fellow artists' genders.  You know, I

                really love great work when people do it, and I don't care who

                they are or where they come from.  I'm just, like, moved by it.

                And what I guess is very gratifying is that very often these

                days it's women, because they've got this energy.  They have

                been emboldened, I think, by the #MeToo movement to feel this

                is their time and, you know, I think we're going to see a lot

                more exciting film coming from women. So that makes me excited.

                Thank you.

          Q.    Now, you once said that filmmaking sets you free. What did you

                mean by that?  And how free did you feel working on this movie,

                The Power of the Dog?

          A.    What I really meant was that, as a woman, I struggled to find

                my place when I was a young person.  And when I discovered

                film, it could take all my energy, everything I had, and still

                leave me struggling to come up to the bar. And, you know, I was

                a young woman with a lot of energy, you know, a lot of


                And I just thought it was a place where I could truly express

                myself and -- through the characters, through the stories, and

                so I guess that's what I mean. Yeah.

          Q.    Thank you. And how free did you feel working on this movie?

          A.    Well, for me, freedom is -- you know, it's -- okay.  Directing

                is really about the imagination, in the first place, and about

                discipline in the second place.

                And in the first place, everybody has that as a birthright,


                But in the second place, it's hard work.

                So you are always balancing those two, you know, amazing

                qualities, to do art, you know? To do good film.

          Q.    Thank you so much.

          A.    Thank you so much.

Acceptance speech transcripts for the 94th Academy Awards are created by a team of transcribers in real time and with minimal editing, for the benefit of the press on the night. They may contain omissions and errors, especially in the spelling of names. Clips of winner acceptance speeches may be found on

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