Natalie Portman’s Female Directors Cape Fuels Debate Since She’s Worked With Few Women Directors In 25-Year Career
Be the change you want to see in the world… or embroider a cape about it, W/E. Natalie Portman decided to make a statement at the 2020 Oscars ceremony by wearing a Dior cape that was delicately embroidered with the names of female directors that did not receive Academy Award nominations this year in favor of an all-men roster.
“I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year,” Natalie explained on the red carpet to the Los Angeles Times while showing off the list of names including Greta Gerwig for Little Women, Lulu Wang for The Farewell, and Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim.
While the intention behind the custom cape was undoubtedly positive, the Black Swan Oscar-winner’s own bad track record with working with women directors in her long career has made the move a bit more controversial than Natalie may have intended.
Out of Natalie’s film acting credits since she began her career in 1994, she’s only worked with one woman director for a full-length film. Rebecca Slotowski directed Natalie’s 2016 flick Planetarium, though Natalie also did work with Sofia Coppola for one of her fragrance commercials.
Natalie has dipped her toes in the directing pool with a 2015 director’s credit for A Tale of Love and Darkness, but Natalie’s production company, Handsomecharlie films, has not financed or distributed a single movie made by a woman director besides those directed by Natalie herself.
So, while Natalie’s Dior cape was pointing out a serious issue in Hollywood — the lack of respect and opportunity given to women directors — perhaps Natalie Portman also needs to look inward. Sure, she wants to be a female director recognized by the Academy one day, I’m sure, but being a feminist isn’t about creating equality solely for your own personal and professional growth. Natalie’s gotta start working with more women directors if she wants people to listen to the statements she’s trying to make.