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Benedict Cumberbatch responds to Sam Elliott's criticism of his Oscar contender The Power of the Dog


Just days after actor Sam Elliott called the Best Picture front-runner The Power of the Dog, ‘a piece of s**t,’ star Benedict Cumberbatch defended the movie.

The 77-year-old actor was on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast last week, where he bashed the movie for having characters, ‘running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie’ and questioning what New Zealand native director Jane Campion, ‘knows about the American West.

Cumberbatch, 45, spoke during BAFTA’s Film Sessions on Friday (via Digital Spy) where he addressed the controversial comments.

Sam criticism: Just days after actor Sam Elliott called the Best Picture front-runner The Power of the Dog, 'a piece of s**t,' star Benedict Cumberbatch defended the movie

Sam criticism: Just days after actor Sam Elliott called the Best Picture front-runner The Power of the Dog, ‘a piece of s**t,’ star Benedict Cumberbatch defended the movie

Benedict speaks: Cumberbatch, 45, spoke during BAFTA's Film Sessions on Friday (via Digital Spy ) where he addressed the controversial comments

Benedict speaks: Cumberbatch, 45, spoke during BAFTA’s Film Sessions on Friday (via Digital Spy ) where he addressed the controversial comments

During the Film Sessions, Cumberbatch was asked why it’s relevant these days to explore a character like Phil Burbank, who he plays in The Power of the Dog.

He said there are so many Phil Burbank’s in the world, adding we must, ‘look under the hood’ of those kinds of characters to, ‘see what their struggle is and why that’s there in the first place.’

The actor then paused briefly before addressing Elliott’s comments, stating, ‘ 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.’

Character: During the Film Sessions, Cumberbatch was asked why it's relevant these days to explore a character like Phil Burbank, who he plays in The Power of the Dog

Character: During the Film Sessions, Cumberbatch was asked why it’s relevant these days to explore a character like Phil Burbank, who he plays in The Power of the Dog

Trying hard: The actor then paused briefly before addressing Elliott's comments, stating, ' 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'

Trying hard: The actor then paused briefly before addressing Elliott’s comments, stating, ‘ 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 offense 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,’ the actor continued.

‘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 on the 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 and, as we know, damage to those around them,’ Cumberbatch continued.

The actor added there is ‘no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that.’ 

Took offense: 'Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] someone really took offense 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,' the actor continued

Took offense: ‘Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] someone really took offense 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,’ the actor continued

No harm: The actor added there is 'no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that'

No harm: The actor added there is ‘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,’ Cumberbatch continued. 

‘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,’ he said.

The Power of the Dog follows Cumberbatch’s character Phil Burbank, a menacing rancher whose brother (Jesse Plemons) surprisingly gets married to a woman (Kirsten Dunst) who moves onto their ranch with her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). 

Brothers: The Power of the Dog follows Cumberbatch's character Phil Burbank, a menacing rancher whose brother (Jesse Plemons) surprisingly gets married to a woman (Kirsten Dunst) who moves onto their ranch with her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee)

Brothers: The Power of the Dog follows Cumberbatch’s character Phil Burbank, a menacing rancher whose brother (Jesse Plemons) surprisingly gets married to a woman (Kirsten Dunst) who moves onto their ranch with her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee)

The film leads all contenders with 12 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Campion is the only female in the Best Directing field, going up against Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) and Steven Spielberg (West Side Story).

Cumberbatch will go up against Javier  Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick… BOOM!), Will Smith (King Richard) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth). 

Oscar nominee: The film leads all contenders with 12 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch

Oscar nominee: The film leads all contenders with 12 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch

Competitors: Cumberbatch will go up against Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick... BOOM!), Will Smith (King Richard) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

Competitors: Cumberbatch will go up against Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick… BOOM!), Will Smith (King Richard) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

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