Natalie Portman made headlines on Sunday night after she attended the 2020 Oscars in a Dior gown and custom black cape embroidered with the names of eight female directors snubbed at this year’s Academy Awards. Talking to the LA Times as she walked the red carpet, Natalie explained her decision, saying: "I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible work this year in my subtle way." Since Sunday, she has received major backlash accusing her of not working with enough female directors throughout her acting career. On Wednesday, fellow actress Rose McGowan took to Facebook, branding Portman’s “type” of activism as “deeply offensive,” and asked her to “do us all a favor and hang up your embroidered activist cloak, it doesn’t hang right.”
Issuing an official statement in response, Natalie has since addressed her critic: "I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me 'brave' for wearing a garment with women's names on it," she said, "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." An outspoken advocate for the Time’s Up movement, the actress continued: "I hope that what was intended as a simple nod to them does not distract from their great achievements."
In her earlier Facebook post, Rose had told Natalie: "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." In particular, Rose vented her frustration that the mother-of-two had only "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."
Responding directly to this, Natalie said: "It is true I've only made a few films with women. In my long career, I've only gotten the chance to work with female directors a few times." She continued: "After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level." Concluding her statement, Natalie said: "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."
Included amongst the list of snubbed female directors was Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Kasi Lemmons (Harriet), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Alma Har'el (Honey Boy).