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Natalie Portman Responds To Rose McGowan's Criticism Of Her Oscars Look

Gettyimages | ROBYN BECK
By Tara Lloyd

While the media praised Natalie Portman's look at this year's Academy Awards, Rose McGowan took to Facebook to call the show of support "an actress acting the part of someone who cares."

Portman wore a cloak embroidered with the names of snubbed female directors, including Greta Gerwig for Little Women, Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers and Lulu Wang for The Farewell.

In a red carpet interview, she said, “I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way.”

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Gettyimages | Marc Piasecki

However, McGowan wrote that she "find[s] Portman's type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work. I'm not writing this out of bitterness, I am writing out of disgust. I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk."

She described Portman's efforts as the "kind of protest that gets rave reviews from the mainstream media for its bravery."

She then addressed Portman directly, stating "Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career- one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you."

She went on, "I am singling you out because you are the latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women. Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality do not do much at all."

Gettyimages | Amy Sussman

Today, Portman responded to McGowan's criticisms.

In a statement to CNN, she said, "I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me 'brave' for wearing a garment with women's names on it. Brave is a term I more strongly associate with actions like those of the women who have been testifying against Harvey Weinstein the last few weeks, under incredible pressure."

She added, "The past few years have seen a blossoming of directing opportunities for women due to the collective efforts of many people who have been calling out the system. The gift has been these incredible films. I hope that what was intended as a simple nod to them does not distract from their great achievements."

Gettyimages | Amy Sussman

Portman also responded to McGowan's criticisms about Portman's lack of experience working with women.

"It is true I've only made a few films with women," she acknowledged. "In my long career, I've only gotten the chance to work with female directors a few times. I've made shorts, commercials, music videos and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat, and myself. Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history."

Gettyimages | ROBYN BECK

Portman's statement also acknowledged the difficulties female directors can face, to get their films made and stories heard.

"I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work. After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level," she said.

"So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have not yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day."

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