Netflix’s The Power of The Dog Gets a Formidable Best Picture Rival for The Oscars

Published 03/01/2022, 4:30 AM EST

The Power of The Dog (TPOTD) is the film to beat at the 94th Oscar Awards. Jane Campion’s Netflix Original exceeded expectations with a whopping 12 Oscar nominations (including four acting nods) and earned itself a huge target. While nominations are huge, there is no guarantee that the most nominated film takes home the Best Picture trophy. Names like Joker (2019), come to mind in this regard. 

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Hence, many look at the various guild awards as a sign of where the voters may lean towards. While the Oscar acting nods proved invaluable for The Power of the Dog, it departed the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards without a single win. 

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst weren’t really expected to win, and Jesse Plemons didn’t get a SAG nomination. However, two things from the SAG awards placed CODA as a formidable rival to Netflix’s The Power of The Dog.

Frontrunner Kodi Smit-McPhee’s loss to Troy Kotsur in the SAG Best Supporting Actor category was huge. Also, CODA’s win in the SAG ensemble category was another massive twist. 

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How important is the Screen Actors Guild Awards in the Oscars Race?

The Screen Actors Guild and the Academy have honored the same Best Supporting Actor winner 18 times. These results have matched in 12 of the last 14 years. 

This statistic proves problematic for Smit-McPhee’s pursuit of a Supporting Actor Oscar. It also means that the Netflix Original isn’t a clear favorite in any acting category. 

https://twitter.com/SAGawards/status/1498131940066541570?t=z2GhyRTzI3aMmGIEUTwpow&s=19

 

CODA’s SAG ensemble win is another telling statistic as the voters backed Kotsur’s co-stars. The Power of The Dog didn’t even get a nod here in this category that has seen 12 winners take home the Best Picture Oscar. 

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This is usually a telling sign as the Actors’ branch is the largest of the Academy and their preferences usually stay the same. However, Netflix has some hope and they have time to turn things around. 

Can Netflix get back on track in the Oscars Race with The Power of The Dog?

The SAG Awards have only the actors cast the votes and crown the best from among themselves. The designated actors’ branch also votes to select the acting nominees at the Oscars. However, the ones to receive the golden statue secure votes from the entire Academy Membership across various branches. This can see a change in fortunes.  

If Netflix looks at the recent trends (three of the last five Oscar Best Picture winners did not get a SAG ensemble nod), the shut-out from the SAG Ensemble category shouldn’t prove to be really worrisome. However, they know where exactly they need to catch up. 

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Netflix should aim to push their film around their best acting bet, (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and look to get wins at the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice Awards. Benedict Cumberbatch could be a strong candidate as well, but Will Smith is seemingly cruising to his maiden Oscar for the Tennis film King Richard. Meanwhile, Kirsten Dunst doesn’t have the buzz around her to upset West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose. 

With a strong bid for the supporting actor role, Netflix can effectively rule out CODA from the Best Picture race, as the latter film has just three nominations. 

If the streaming giant gets the expected wins in the Directors Guild, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Producers Guild Awards, it will turn the scales in its favor. However, CODA has the momentum right now.

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Can Netflix turn things around for Jane Campion‘s The Power of The Dog? Or has CODA’s SAG success thrown in the cat among the pigeons?

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Reubyn Coutinho

49 articles

Reubyn Coutinho is an Editor and Film Critic at Netflix Junkie. This Mass Media Graduate from St. Xavier's has attended MAMI (2019) as a film critic.

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