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Benedict Cumberbatch responds to Sam Elliott’s ‘Power of the Dog’ criticism

Cumberbatch said in comments Friday it was important to tell stories like this in order to help those struggling understand themselves more.

Director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is up for a slew of Oscars, making it one of the main contenders for the top prize of Best Picture. However, it was blasted by actor Sam Elliott for its depiction of the American frontier and LGBTQ+ themes, and the leading man Benedict Cumberbatch has just replied.

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“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. Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that … someone really took offence to – I haven’t heard it so it’s unfair for me to comment in detail on it – to the West being portrayed in this way. These people still exist in our world. Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s down the road or whether it’s someone we meet in a bar or pub or sports field. There is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person.”

This response reported by Digital Spy from the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star came during a BAFTA Film Sessions event Friday. He was asked about A Star is Born actor Sam Elliott’s comments on renowned comedian Marc Maron’s podcast. Elliott stopped by at the end of last month and was asked about the Netflix western – Elliott said he thought the movie was a “piece of shit” and objected to how its cowboys looked:

Chippendale’s dancers. That’s what all these f-ing cowboys in that movie looked like. They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts, there’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout

Cumberbatch continued his remarks on the matter by noting that it was important to look at figures like Phil in order to understand how to deal with issues of toxic masculinity and homophobia today. He said not knowing who you are can also cause damage to others and by attempting to understand this we can help young people presently struggling.

“There’s no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that. This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can’t fully be. The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger chances we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children.”

There are certainly multiple ways to examine historical time periods and we’ll find out who will have the last word on Benedict Cumberbatch‘s big role when the 94th Academy Awards are broadcast on March 27.