Natalie Portman's Oscars Cape, Embroidered with Snubbed Female Directors, Is a Dig to the Academy

In 2018, Portman called out the Golden Globes for their exclusion of female nominees in the best director category while presenting the award

After famously drawing attention to the all-male line-up of best director nominees at the 2018 Golden Globes, Natalie Portman is standing up for women once again at the 2020 Oscars (and this time, she’s using fashion to do it).

The 38-year-old actress and the Academy Awards presenter walked the red carpet wearing a strapless black Dior gown, featuring a gold mesh overlay and a braided gold belt with a black floor-length cape and small hoop earrings.

The gold embellishments were stunning from afar, but up close, shots revealed one detail that took Portman’s look to the next level — the actress had the names of female directors whose critically acclaimed works were not recognized by the Academy embroidered down the left lapel of her black cape.

In a video posted to Twitter by Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman, the Black Swan star showed off her detail-oriented ensemble and explained the meaning behind it.

“I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way,” she told Kaufman.

According to an insider, the names inscribed on Portman’s red carpet design include Greta Gerwig (who is not nominated for her adaptation of the classic Little Women).

Last month, Issa Rae also called out the Academy when she announced the Oscar nominees with John Cho, saying, “Congratulations to those men.”

This year’s nominees for the best director award are all male and majority white: Bong Joon Ho for Parasite, Sam Mendes for 1917, Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and Todd Phillips for Joker.

Natalie Portman
Portman’s cape at the Oscars. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women picked up six nods, but Gerwig failed to land a directing nomination, even though her film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, Lulu Wang was not nominated for her direction of The Farewell, despite receiving critical acclaim throughout the 2020 awards season. Lorene Scafaria was also snubbed for Hustlers, as well as Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim and Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

There have only been five female directing nominees in the Oscars‘ 92-year history.

In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the best director award for her film, The Hurt Locker.

92nd Annual Academy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Feb 2020
92nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

In 2018, Portman made headlines when she called out the Golden Globes for its exclusion of female nominees in the best director category while presenting the award alongside Ron Howard.

“And here are all the male nominees,” she said before introducing the five men up for the award at the time.

Guillermo Del Toro took home the award for Shape of Water, beating out Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) and Steven Spielberg (The Post). Celebrated female directors Greta Gerwig, Patty Jenkins and Dee Rees were not nominated.

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