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

Looking Back

by Edgar A. Guest

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold
instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown
in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life,
and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine,
and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave
to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now
to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue;
I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold
to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came;
together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent
with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few,
and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance
come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys,
known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life,
though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy,
and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end,
for the gold that I might have possessed.

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.”