There are a few shocking snubs from today’s Oscar announcements, but seeing Jane Campion receive her second Best Director Oscar nomination for Netflix film The Power Of the Dog inspired a hit of dopamine. It comes 28 years after her first nomination (and win) for The Piano, making her the first woman in history to receive two nominations.

The news (which was expected) still had my mind jumping to all sorts of places, starting with the first on-set photos that were released when The Power of The Dog began shooting. Seeing Campion, with her long white hair, sitting behind the camera in the middle of a vast and desolate landscape, at age 67, was a powerful visual, and a hopeful reminder that the most exciting moments of our career may well lie ahead.

Today’s announcement from The Academy also had me traveling back to 1993, or when my mother took me to the theatre to watch The Piano. It was one of the first real adult films I was introduced to, and certain scenes have lived with me (and audiences everywhere) ever since: the boat washing up on shore, the constricting black dress ballooning in the waves, the enormous piano being pulled through the mud. I can still recall the wetness of the New Zealand forest… practically smell the lush greenery. And of course the finger scenes are permanently etched on the brain: the finger so desperate for touch and intimacy that it presses through a small hole in Ada McGrath’s (Holly Hunter) tights, and the traumatic ax scene that will forever haunt me.

There are few artists that have impacted me so much at such vastly different stages of my life. But Jane Campion inspired me when I was on the brink of puberty just as much as she has now, in middle age. Daring, chilling, profound and astounding are words that I’d use to describe both The Piano and The Power of The Dog

Like The Piano, there are scenes from The Power of The Dog that are so deeply affecting that they stir a deep discomfort that you can feel all the way down in your groin. Watching Rose Gordon (Kristen Dunst) dig through a stack of bottles in a dusty laneway, desperate to find a few drops of liquor to satiate her monstrous addiction, is almost unbearable to witness, and is one of many scenes I won’t soon forget. 

In the film’s press notes, Benedict Cumberbatch, who received a Best Actor nomination for the wicked and wounded Phil Burbank, talks about working with Campion, describing her as having “a particular brilliance, and a ravishing lens and perspective on sexuality, on gender, on beauty, on savagery. She’s not afraid of her vulnerabilities and so she encourages that in people’s work in order to find something that’s unexpected.” 

She has taught us many things—to be bold, to persevere, to trust our gut, and play big—but perhaps the greatest lesson from Jane Campion is to take the necessary time to make good art. In a world that pushes us to move fast, Campion reminds us that there is much to be discovered when we slow down, and give ourselves space to make thoughtful choices. 

Seeing her honoured today was satisfying, even a little thrilling. But the fact that Campion remains to be the only woman director to have ever been nominated twice stings, and is a reminder that women have been snubbed from this industry for too long. The news had us recalling a famous quote of Campion’s from the past: “I would love to see more women directors because they represent half of the population – and gave birth to the whole world. Without them writing and being directors, the rest of us are not going to know the whole story.”