Five men were nominated for Best Director at the 2020 Academy Awards, a fact which Natalie Portman protested by wearing a Dior cape with the names of female directors embroidered along the sides. That cape was one of the most talked-about moments from the Oscars red carpet, but not everyone was impressed. Actress Rose McGowan, who has been one of the more outspoken critics of Harvey Weinstein, slammed Portman’s wardrobe, calling her attempts at activism “deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work.”
McGowan’s issue is less about the meaning behind the embroidery than its source. In a long Facebook post, she called Portman “an actress acting the part of someone who cares,” and criticized the A-lister’s career choices. “Natalie, you have 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.”
This claim is mostly true, depending on how finely you want to split hairs. Portman directed herself in A Tale of Love and Darkness and appeared in Planetarium directed by Rebecca Zlotowski. She also worked on the 2009 anthology film New York, I Love You, in which she both got behind the camera herself and starred in a segment from Mira Nair. As Exclaim points out, Portman hired Lynne Ramsay for Jane Got a Gun, but she was replaced by Gavin O’Connor after Lynne skipped the first three days of shooting in a power struggle with producers.
McGowan also accused Portman of being all-talk, no action.