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Jane Campion says she has it harder than Venus and Serena Williams

Kate Feldman
New York Daily News (TNS)

Anything Venus and Serena Williams can do, Jane Campion can do better, according to the “Power of the Dog” director. Why? Because men make movies too.

During her acceptance speech for best director at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday night, Campion acknowledged the barrier-breaking women in the room with her, including Halle Berry and “doll” Kirsten Dunst, then thanked her fellow nominees, who she referred to as the “guys”: Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza,” Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast,” Guillermo del Toro for “Nightmare Alley,” Steven Spielberg for “West Side Story” and Denis Villeneuve for “Dune.”

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But it was her comments to the tennis champions, who were celebrating “King Richard,” about their father, that drew the most attention.

“What an honor to be in the room with you,” she told Williams sisters. “Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys, like I have to.”

Venus and Serena Williams have, of course, played against men, during mixed matches — Venus even won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio — but it was the implication that the athletes, who compete in a predominantly white sport, have not faced enough adversity that struck many critics.

Jane Campion wins the award for best director for "The Power of the Dog" at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“White women really just come for black women unprovoked,” one person tweeted after the awards ceremony.

“White women will always split being white & being a woman as if they’re separate things and use their womanhood to explain how that knocks them down a few pegs but never acknowledge that their whiteness is the thing that builds them back up,” wrote another.

Representatives for Campion did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News Monday.