The Power of the Dog may not have won all the gongs at the Oscars this year, but a Central Otago farmer is delighted her Ida Valley farm, which was one of the stars of the atmospheric film, helped propel Dame Jane Campion to a historic best director award.
The film was nominated in 12 categories at the 94th Academy Awards on Monday.
They included best picture, best director, best actor in a leading role, two nominations for actor in a supporting role, cinematography, film editing, music (original score), production design, sound and writing (adapted screenplay).
Dame Jane made Oscar history as the first woman to be nominated twice for best director and the third woman in film history to win the award.
Taking to the stage at the Dolby Theatre Hollywood, Dame Jane addressed those watching from New Zealand and thanked the academy for “the honour of a lifetime”.
The film was shot on the Maniototo property of brothers Al and Graeme McKnight and Al’s partner Philippa Pope.
Ms Pope said after having an “Oscars party” at the property, they were “very happy” for Dame Jane, but “a little disappointed” the film did not win best picture.
She also had hopes Ari Wegner would win for best cinematography for her work on the film.
Despite not winning more awards, she felt “very proud and very privileged” to have been part of the journey.
A homestead, barn, cattle corral, cowboy quarters and saloon were built on the cattle and sheep farm.
Building the set took about four months and filming another six weeks.
It was a piece of land that rarely “saw more than one car a day” and it was fascinating to see it change to a film set with hundreds of people involved.
There was now almost no evidence the set had been there.
The set was built away from the usual farm operations. However the crew were “very respectful” not to disrupt anything.
Speaking from Los Angeles after the awards, New Zealand Film Commission chief executive David Strong told the Otago Daily Times it was a proud moment.
“To hear Dame Jane accept the award was wonderful.
“It makes us very proud of what we can do in New Zealand.”
Production manager Grant Major, who was nominated in the production design category with Amber Richard, said he always relished the opportunity to work in Central Otago.
“[It] really is the heartland of the country with its stunningly beautiful landscapes and practical, friendly inhabitants,” he said.
“The locals went out of their way to welcome us into the district and helped us in making the film in a myriad of ways.
“It’s not easy to establish a large production, and build a big film set, at such short notice, into a relatively sparsely populated area and I salute the locals for coming to the party for this.”
In a New Zealand Film Commission featurette on the making of the movie, Dame Jane and her stars wax lyrical about the Ida Valley location.
“I was taken to a place near the Hawkdun Ranges and I fell in love with it,” Dame Jane said.
The area was very remote, and 360-degrees empty with an amazing hill range behind it,” she said.
“It just felt so atmospheric.”