Jane Campion is under fire for her comments on Venus and Serena Williams tennis prowess

She said, "Venus, Serena! You're so marvellous!" while accepting the Critics' Choice Award for best director. "But, you don’t play against men, like I do."

Jane Campion is under fire for her comments on Venus and Serena Williams tennis prowess

It can be difficult to become an Internet hero on the path to the Oscars.

That's exactly what happened to Jane Campion director of "The Power of the Dog" over the weekend. She went from being celebrated on Twitter one night, to being criticized the next.

The Internet crown Campion their queen after responding to Sam Elliot crude criticism of "The Power of the Dog” on the red carpet in advance of the DGA Awards.

She said that he was being a bit of a ----,", and spelling out the last word.

Campion reminded listeners, too, that Elliott is not a cowboy but just an actor.

"The West is a mythic place and there's plenty of space on the range. She said that she thinks it's a bit sexist.

Campion's comments and how she delivered them became instant internet fodder. Bowen Yang , a "Saturday Night Live” star, accepted the challenge to play her in a forthcoming "Weekend Update", while walking on the Critics Choice Awards carpet.

Campion accepted the award for best director on Sunday, but her speech was controversial because she made comments about Venus and Serena Williams tennis prowess.

The remarks started innocently enough. The filmmaker thanked Taika Waititi, a fellow New Zealander, and the Critics Choice Association.

Campion stated, "It's absolutely amazing to be here tonight amongst so many incredible women," while holding the first of four Netflix movie trophies. The audience cheered and clapped.

"Halle Berry, your speech is already complete. It was amazing. She continued to praise , the winner of the SeeHer Award. Then she turned her attention towards Venus Williams and King Richard.

Campion exclaimed, "What a privilege to be here with you," and continued, "It was an honor to share the room with you," adding that "I have taken up tennis -- I really have -- and Will [Smith], I would love to take lessons from you." Because I have tennis elbow, I had to quit playing.

Campion saluted her fellow nominees, or "the guys" as she called them.

She said, "Venus, Serena, you are such marvels!" and referred back to her earlier point. "However, you don’t play against men, as I do."

The comment was met with loud applause in the ballroom but probably more criticism on social media where it was viewed as "cringey", "crass" at worst and "arrogant, ignorant" at its most offensive.

Campion's tone was light and humorous, but it was her content that made the speech feel disrespectful. Many pointed out that Venus and Serena Williams can not only play against but probably beat the men in their respective sport, just as Campion had done. Most commenters were unimpressed by her decision to include the Williams sisters and their tennis skills into the conversation. A clip that was frequently used to voice their discontent was NeNe Leakes, star of "Real Housewives of Atlanta", asking "Now why are I in it?"

Campion didn't immediately respond to a request. However, Venus Williams and Campion were spotted together at the afterparty of Netflix's Critics Choice Awards broadcast. Although it is not clear if they discussed the moment, the two women did take photographs together and were seen among the dancing partygoers that included Ted Sarandos, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Campion's viral response to Sam Elliott’s crude criticism of “The Power of the Dog” was a 24-hour ago.

During a recent guest appearance on Marc Maron's "WTF" podcast, the actor -- who most recently starred in the "Yellowstone"-prequel series "1883" and is known for his work in Westerns -- criticized aspects of the Western thriller. Campion was questioned about his knowledge of the genre and called the film's "allusions to homosexuality" during the interview.

Variety reported that she has a wider view of Western art and that Elliott's views are a slight to her as a female artist.

She explained that she was struck by the number of Westerns Sergio Leone has made in Spain. "I consider myself to be a creator. He thinks of me first as a woman, or something less than that. I don't like that.

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