While celebrities have often opted for ribbons or color choice to make their political statements, Natalie Portman decided to spell out her protest at the 2020 Oscars this year. The actress had the names of female directors embroidered on border of her Dior cape.
“I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year, in my subtle way,” she told reporter Amy Kaufman on the red carpet.
The names, written out in gold-threaded script, are: Scafaria, Wang, Gerwig, Diop, Heller, Matsoukas, Har’el and Sciamma. And because none of those women earned Best Director Oscar nominations this year, we do need to identify them and their critically acclaimed and audience-loved moves, so forgive the repetition here. Lorene Scafaria directed Hustlers. Lulu Wang directed The Farewell. Greta Gerwig directed Little Women (and at least she got a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay). Mati Diop directed Atlantics. Melina Matsoukas directed Queen & Slim. Alma Har’el directed Honey Boy. And Cèline Sciamma directed Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
A director herself, Portman has been sensitive to this particular category’s sexism before. In 2018, she was a presenter for Best Director, and before reading their names, said, “Here are the all-male nominees.”
In her opening number for this year’s ceremony, Janelle Monae called out all the female directors in the middle of her song, as did Chris Rock and Steve Martin.
“There’s so many great directors nominated this year,” Rock said.
“I don’t know, Chris,” Martin said. “I thought there was something missing from the list this year.”
“Vaginas?” was Rock’s reply.
Only five women have been nominated for Best Director in the history of the Oscars, and many were surprised in particular by Gerwig’s snub. Well, let’s hope Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino were sitting in the Dolby Theatre upset that they got left out of Portman’s fashion statement.