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Natalie Portman responds to Rose McGowan's Oscars dress criticism - BBC News

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Entertainment & Arts

Entertainment & Arts

NATALIE PORTMAN RESPONDS TO ROSE MCGOWAN'S OSCARS DRESS CRITICISM

By Steven McIntosh Entertainment reporter

*
13 February 2020

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* The Oscars

Image copyright Getty Images
When Natalie Portman wore a dress championing female film directors to
the Oscars, she was praised by many - but also faced a backlash.

"_You_ are the problem," actress Rose McGowan said. "Yes, you,
Natalie. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is
the problem."

McGowan argued that Portman doesn't "walk the walk" because she
doesn't have a great track record of working with female directors
herself.

Portman has now responded, saying the reason is that there are
"gatekeepers at every level" who prevent such films getting made.

Here's the full story.

WHY DID PORTMAN'S DRESS CAUSE A STIR?

Image copyright Getty Images
Portman walked the red carpet at Sunday night's Oscars wearing a
custom Dior gown and cape, which took more than 900 hours to make
.

Those who looked closely spotted that the cape was adorned with the
names of some of the female directors who weren't nominated at this
year's Academy Awards.

For the ninth year in the past decade, all five of the best director
nominees were male.

* 13 looks that caused a stir at the Oscars

* Oscars 2020: Fur flies, vegan burgers and RIP Luke


The female directors highlighted by Portman included Lorene Scafaria
(who directed Hustlers), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Greta Gerwig
(Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
and Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim).

The Oscar-winning actress has form when it comes to this issue. While
presenting the best director category at the 2018 Golden Globes, she
said: "And here are the all-male nominees."

WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE TO THE DRESS?

To begin with, widespread support.

"Not all heroes wear capes, but Natalie Portman is now one of them,"
declared Harper's Bazaar.


"Bravo, Natalie," added Marie Claire.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Natalie Portman and Timothee Chalamet presented best
adapted screenplay at the ceremony
However, a few social media sleuths began looking into Portman's
filmography, which showed the actress has only worked with two female
directors in her career.

And one of them was herself.

Furthermore, her own production company, Handsomecharlie Films, has
not yet made a film with a female director (again, other than Portman
herself).

Two tweets in particular that drew attention to these facts

received more than 300,000 likes between them.

Skip Twitter post by @AngelaLMorabito

> Natalie Portman’s production company has only ever hired 1 female
> director (her name was Natalie Portman) https://t.co/DRUVM1oezW
> — Angela Morabito (@AngelaLMorabito) February 11, 2020


Report
End of Twitter post by @AngelaLMorabito


WHAT DID ROSE MCGOWAN SAY?

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Rose McGowan
pictured outside the first day of Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault
trial
In a Facebook post
, the
Grindhouse actress wrote: " the kind of protest that gets
rave reviews from the mainstream media for its bravery.

"Brave? No, not by a long shot. More like an actress acting the part
of someone who cares. As so many of them do.

"I find Portman's type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who
actually do the work. I'm not writing this out of bitterness, I am
writing out of disgust. I just want her and other actresses to walk
the walk."

McGowan highlighted Portman's poor track record when it came to
working with and hiring female directors.

"What is it with actresses of your ilk?," she continued. "You
'A-listers' could change the world if you'd take a stand instead of
being the problem.

"Stop pretending you're some kind of champion for anything other than
yourself. Until you and your fellow actresses get real, do us all a
favour and hang up your embroidered activist cloak, it doesn't hang
right."

HOW HAS PORTMAN RESPONDED?

Image copyright Reuters Image
caption Natalie Portman pictured backstage at the ceremony with Jojo
Rabbit director Taika Waititi
While acknowledging the criticisms about her own previous work,
Portman defended herself and drew attention to other projects she's
worked on which had women at the helm.

"It is true I've only made a few films with women," she said in a
statement issued to BBC News.

"In my long career, I've only gotten the chance to work with female
directors a few times - I've made shorts, commercials, music videos
and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose
Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat and myself."

The actress added that other projects with female directors, which are
not public knowledge, have fallen through.

"Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost
history," she said.

"Female films have been incredibly hard to get made at studios, or to
get independently financed. If these films do get made, women face
enormous challenges during the making of them.

"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.

"After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting
into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of
the gatekeepers at every level.

"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."

_Follow us on _Facebook _, or
on Twitter _@BBCNewsEnts _. If you
have a story suggestion email _entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk_._

RELATED TOPICS

* Film
* Rose McGowan
* The Oscars

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MORE ON THIS STORY

*

#MeToo Oscars: Why aren't there more female directors?

22 February 2019
*

Female directors need to be 'shameless'

31 May 2018
*

Oscars 2020: 13 looks that caused a stir

10 February 2020
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Oscars 2020: Next moves for the winning stars

11 February 2020
*

Oscars 2020: Fur flies, vegan burgers and RIP Luke Perry

11 February 2020

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