Natalie Portman's Oscars Cape Pays Homage to This Year's Snubbed Directors
Awards show attendees frequently use their clothing (or at least their acceptance speeches) to make a statement. This year saw America Ferrera honoring her heritage with a Honduran headpiece and Spike Lee paying tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter. Natalie Portman made a sartorial shout-out too, and this one sent a strong message to Academy Awards voters everywhere.
Portman chose a gorgeous black and gold Dior gown with a matching floor-length cape for this year's Oscars, but it was the embroidery detail on her cape's lapel that really grabbed our attention. In an elegant line down the front of her cape were all the names of the female directors who were snubbed nominations this year–Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Lorene Scafari (Hustlers), Mati Diop (Atlantics), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Alma Har'el (Honey Boy) and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).
Portman made headlines in 2019 when she called out the Academy for its exclusion of female directors while announcing the winner of Best Director, saying "Here are the all-male nominees." Unfortunately, little has changed since then, as there have been no female director nominees in 2020 despite numerous women who (in our opinion) very much deserved the recognition.
There are only five women who have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird). Bigelow is the only one among that group to actually win the award.
Here's hoping Portman's fashion statement does more than just grab headlines and actually encourages the Academy to make a change.