Natalie Portman’s Oscar’s Cape and The Backlash
Claire Miles - February 20, 2020

Happiest Days

By Edward H. Donnelly

I said to the little children,
"You are living your happiest days,"
And their bright eyes opened wider In innocent amaze.
For their happiness was so perfect,
They did not know it then;
"Oh, no," they said, "there'll be happier days
When we are women and men."

I said to the youth and maiden,
"You are living your happiest days,"
And into their sparkling eyes there crept
A dreamy, far-off gaze;
And their hands sought one another,
And their cheeks flushed rosy red;
" Oh, no," they said, " there'll be happier days
For us when we are wed."

I said to the man and woman,
"You are living your happiest days,"
As they laughingly watched together
Their baby's cunning ways.
"These days are days of labor.
They can hardly be our best;
There'll be happier days when the children are grown,
And we have earned our rest."

I said to the aged couple,
"You are living your happiest days,"
Your children do you honor,
You have won success and praise.
" With a peaceful look they answered,
"God is good to us, that's true: But we think there are happier days for us
In the life we're going to."

Natalie Portman wore a cape to the Oscars with the names of female directors who were snubbed by the Academy. Some people, however, were not having it. The backlash came and it came strong. Some argued that Portman’s production company hasn’t hired female directors aside from herself. Portman responded to the backlash with a statement after Rose McGowan weighed in.

Natalie Portman walked the red carpet in a gorgeous Dior gown with sheer insets, gold embroidery, and an awesome cape. The whole look was stunning. The cape featured the names of women directors. Take a look:

Here are some of the names listed with the movies they directed:

Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers
Lulu Wang, The Farewell
Mati Diop, Atlantics
Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Melina Matsoukas, Queen and Slim
Alma Har’el, Honey Boy
Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

“I wanted to recognize the women [directors] who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in a subtle way,” Natalie told LA Times reporter Amy Kaufman on the carpet.

But a lot of people were dragging Portman for not practicing what she preaches. Her production company Handsomecharlie Films has a total of eight films (and three more upcoming projects), but apparently the only female director it hired was Natalie Portman herself. Many also called it “performative” and an example of white feminism. Rose McGowan critqued Natalie’s statement on Facebook. Natalie herself then released her statement through The Hollywood Reporter and acknowledged her fault in not having enough women employed, saying she’ll do better to hire more women in the future.

“I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me ‘brave’ for wearing a garment with women’s names on it. Brave is a term I more strongly associate with actions like those of the women who have been testifying against Harvey Weinstein the last few weeks, under incredible pressure,” Natalie’s statement read.

“I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work,” she added. “So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have not yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day.”