“Someone really took offense to the West being portrayed this way”: Benedict Cumberbatch Humiliated Marvel Star Sam Elliott for Anti-Gay Rant

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Benedict Cumberbatch’s Oscar-nominated Western film, The Power of the Dog, has been subjected to brutal and unchecked criticism from veteran actor Sam Elliott. The incident which was shockingly intolerant and enabled the outright denial of expression and art has then been responded to with polite humiliation aimed at Elliott by the British actor.


Even as The Power of the Dog continues to garner praise and acclaim, Sam Elliott’s response marks a stain on the Netflix film that has currently been nominated for 12 Oscars.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch arrives at the Patrick Melrose premiere

Also read: Best Non-MCU Movies of Benedict Cumberbatch You Should Watch 


Sam Elliott Rages Against Netflix’s The Power of the Dog

In an appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, actor Sam Elliott who is famous for his roles in films like The Big Lebowski (1998), The Hero (2017), and Hulk (2003) has spoken out against the star-studded Netflix film, The Power of the Dog.

“You want to talk about that piece of sh*t? There was a f**king full-page ad out in the LA Times and there was a review, not a review, but a clip, and it talked about the ‘evisceration of the American myth,’ and I thought, ‘What the f**k? What the f**k?’… They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There are all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f**king movie…”

Sam Elliott
Sam Elliott

Also read: 30 Too Wholesome To Handle Moments From The 2022 Oscars Night 

The comments sadly did not end there as the Marvel actor went on a tirade against everything that’s wrong about the film, in his opinion. Not only were the elemental narrative blocks of the movie’s plot problematic to him and his sensibilities, but they were also aimed at subverting the legitimacy of Jane Campion as a director.


“What the f**k does this woman from down there [Australia] know about the American West? Why the f**k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That f**king rubbed me the wrong way. Boy, when I f**king saw that I thought, ‘What the f**k? Where are we in this world today?’”

Elliott, recognizable for his lanky frame and handlebar mustache has worked in a considerable number of Westerns himself, notably, The Shadow Riders (1982), Gone to Texas (1986), The Quick and the Dead (1987), Conagher (1991), Tombstone (1993), and You Know My Name (1999).

Also read: “They should’ve gone with Sam Elliott”: MCU Fans Divided as Harrison Ford Becomes MCU’s New Thunderbolt Ross, Officially Succeeds the Late William Hurt

Benedict Cumberbatch Responds to Sam Elliott’s Comments

While the Doctor Strange actor acknowledges that he did not listen to the podcast himself, Benedict Cumberbatch was still aware of the incident surrounding Sam Elliott’s outrageous opinions against his film. He spoke candidly and responded to Elliott’s comments during his BAFTA Film Sessions interview.


“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 movie] is not a history lesson… Beyond that reaction, that sort of denial that anybody could have anything 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 toward an acceptance of the other and any kind of difference.”

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Also read: Golden Globes 2022 Winners List: The Power of the Dog, West Side Story Take Top Honors

The misconception that American Westerns are about macho gun-slinging cowboys staring at each other from under the brim of their hats and dueling in a standoff immediately exploits the notion of there being no place for the LGBTQ+ demography in these films. 

The reality of the American West of the 19th and 20th centuries, in fact, does not have enough representation in films and that is what Jane Campion sought to bring to the screen through her directorial lens focusing on the homosexually repressed and time-hardened cattle ranch owner, Phil Burbank, the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.


The Power of the Dog is available for streaming on Netflix.

Source: BAFTA Film Sessions


Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1566

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has above 1500 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh. Other skills include being the proud owner of an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists.