Benedict Cumberbatch's new movie gets a four-minute standing ovation at Venice

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog
(Image credit: Netflix)

Venice Film Festival has become something of an Oscars launch-pad. Just a quick glance at this year's line-up shows that any actor who wants to be in awards contention is currently in Venice – this year's red carpet will be lined by the casts of Dune (Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson), Last Night in Soho (Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith), and The Last Duel (Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck).

One of the first movies to be shown was The Power of the Dog, from director Jane Campion (The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady). Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst lead the 1920s period drama, which tells the story of a farmer (Cumberbatch) who becomes irate by the marriage of his brother (Jesse Plemons) to Dunst's character. The story is based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage.

Variety reports that the movie has launched Cumberbatch into the Oscars race, with the movie receiving a four-minute standing ovation, and the Doctor Strange actor being singled out for his astonishing performance. IndieWire goes as far as to call it a "definitive career-best" for Cumberbatch, who was nominated for an Oscar back in 2014 for The Imitation Game.

While Cumberbatch may be grabbing the headlines, Dunst also reportedly offers a great turn in the movie, with the character's role expanded in comparison to the source material. A potential Supporting Actress nomination could be on the way.

Venice Film Festival has also seen other major movies debut, including Parallel Mothers from director Pedro Almodovar. The Penelope Cruz-starrer received a five-minute standing ovation – not that anyone's counting...

For more, check out our piece on the most exciting upcoming movies heading your way over the next year.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.