The 2020 Academy Awards was quite the interesting event. We had some feel good moments, such as Bong Joon-ho sweeping up the big categories for his work on Parasite and Jerry from Cheer giving everyone some great mat talk. Unfortunately, we also had some ridiculous moments like the backlash to Natalie Portman’s Oscar cape.
Speaking of the Oscars, the GOAT team talk about why the Academy forgot Luke Perry in its In Memoriam segment on It’s Been A Big Day For… below:
For those who need a reminder, Natalie Portman took to the red carpet with a special Dior Oscars cape which had all the names of snubbed female directors embroidered on it. Her ensemble drew a lot of mixed responses as folks either praised her for drawing attention to female directors, or slammed her for virtue signalling and for talking the talk but not walking the walk.
One particularly outspoken critic of Natalie Portman’s Oscar cape was Rose McGowan, who wrote a Facebook post calling out the actress’ activism for female directors as disingenuous by pointing out how she has worked prominently with male directors over the course of her career, as well as not hiring female filmmakers despite having her own production company.
Rose certainly didn’t hold back in her criticism for Natalie Portman and her Oscar cape, yet one can’t help but feel a bit uneasy about her comments. There’s no denying that Rose deserves credit for her efforts in promoting equality for women, but tearing down another woman for having good intentions isn’t helping the cause.
At the same time though, we can’t blame Rose McGowan for responding the way she has due to all the trauma she’s endured throughout her time in Hollywood, particularly with the Harvey Weinstein saga reopening old wounds.
But rather than clapback at all the criticism, Natalie responded with a classy statement (via The Hollywood Reporter) acknowledging that she agrees with Rose on how it’s “unaccurate” to call her “brave” and that’s a term best used for all the women who testified against Harvey Weinstein.
Natalie also acknowledges how she’s worked with few female directors and filmmakers over the course of her career, saying how she’s only “made shorts, commercials, music videos and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat and myself,” before discussing how she’s tried and failed to get projects involving women off the ground.
Citing studies and her own personal experience, Natalie states how films from female filmmakers “face difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level,” before saying how she’s “tried” and will “keep trying” to promote women in film as she’s “hopeful that we are stepping into a new day.”
Natalie Portman is a smart woman who definitely understands how her Oscar cape isn’t going to immediately change the world. Seeing Rose McGowan undermine her efforts despite both of them fighting for the same thing is pretty disappointing as criticising another woman in Hollywood isn’t the way forward, but Natalie’s response is the epitome of class.
Change takes time and here’s hoping that all the efforts from the likes of Natalie Portman and Rose McGowan will lead to some lasting change.
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