Benedict Cumberbatch Seemingly Replies To Sam Elliott's Public Criticism

Jane Campion's film, "The Power of the Dog," which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, has led the 2021-2022 awards season with nominations and wins across the board, including 12 Oscar nods. Scoring its 21st Best Picture victory after the North Dakota Film Society awards in January, the character-driven Western broke records for the most Best Picture wins by a single film since Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" in 2018, per Variety.

Not everyone is so enamored with the film, however. In a February 28 episode of "WTF with Marc Maron," iconic character actor Sam Elliott slammed the film's depiction of the Wild West. Known for his frequent portrayals of the quintessential American cowboy, Elliott told Maron that the film misrepresented the region, particularly in its exploration of repressed homosexuality. "The evisceration of the American West," Elliott labeled the film (via The Hollywood Reporter), continuing, "They made it look like — what are all those dancers that those guys in New York that wear bowties and not much else? ... They're all running around in chaps and no shirts." 

While Elliott called Campion a "brilliant director," he further criticized, "What the f**k does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West?" He also took umbrage with the film using New Zealand as the setting for Montana. Given his passionate remarks, it would have been odd if no one involved with the film publicly called Elliott out — but it seems Cumberbatch has done just that.

Benedict Cumberbatch has a very Benedict Cumberbatch-like response

Benedict Cumberbatch has, seemingly, clapped back at Sam Elliot in the most eloquent way possible. During a March 4 BAFTA Film Sessions event, Cumberbatch indirectly commented, saying, "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 ... 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." But say something, he did. 

Seemingly addressing Elliott's complaint about the film's focus on repressed homosexuality amongst American cowboys, Cumberbatch remarked, "Beyond that reaction, that sort of denial that anybody could have any other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they're born, there's also a massive intolerance within the world at large towards homosexuality still and towards an acceptance of the other, of anything kind of difference."

One fan hilariously praised the English actor's response on Twitter, writing, "Benedict Cumberbatch has found the most elegant way to say 'okay, Boomer' to Sam Elliott re 'The Power of the Dog.'" Another fan branded Cumberbatch as a "classy, classy man."