There was a bit of an uproar around the Academy Awards this year and the lack of female nominees for Best Director. Despite many worthy possible entries, women were completely shut out of this year’s awards race.
In order to protest this decision from the Academy, Natalie Portman had the names of snubbed female directors embroidered onto her Dior gown: Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Mati Diop (Atlantics), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy) and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).
“I find 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.
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.
What is it with actresses of your ilk? You ‘A-listers’ (?) could change the world if you’d take a stand instead of being the problem. Yes, you, Natalie. You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem.”
“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.”
Portman continued, explaining that while there was still work to be done, great strides had been made in providing opportunities for women in film.
“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.”
She also set the record straight on her own experiences with female directors, explaining that she had worked with many on female filmmakers on “shorts, commercials, music videos and features.” She specifically mentioned Marya Cohn, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat “and myself.”