Rose McGowan Slams Natalie Portman’s Oscars Nod To Female Directors: ‘You Are The Problem’

By Christi Carras Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After Natalie Portman wore a cape to the Oscars embroidered with the names of several female filmmakers, Rose McGowan lashed out about the sincererity of Portman's fashion statement.

Los Angeles Times

Natalie Portman drew praise on Oscar Sunday with a bold fashion statement honoring snubbed female directors. Now, she is drawing criticism from some who claim she is part of "the problem."

Actress Rose McGowan was particularly unimpressed with the "Lucy in the Sky" star's red carpet performance, slamming Portman on Facebook on Tuesday and asking her to "stop pretending you're some kind of champion for anything other than yourself."

Portman's black-and-gold ensemble featured a cape embroidered with the names of several filmmakers, including Greta Gerwig ("Little Women"), Lulu Wang ("The Farewell"), Lorene Scafaria ("Hustlers"), Marielle Heller ("A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"), Mati Diop ("Atlantics"), Melina Matsoukas ("Queen & Slim"), Alma Har'el ("Honey Boy") and Celine Sciamma ("Portrait of a Lady on Fire").

Once again, no women received recognition from the motion picture academy in the directing category this year.

"Some thoughts on Natalie Portman and her Oscar 'protest," McGowan's post began. "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."

A representative for Portman did not immediately respond to the Los Angeles Times' request for comment on Wednesday.

McGowan's critique went on to suggest that Portman's activism is "fake" and hypocritical, as the Oscar winner has worked with only two female directors over her decadeslong career,  one being herself. (Actually, Portman has worked with a total of three female directors on feature films, two of whom shared directing credits on their projects with other filmmakers. Portman also directed herself and others in 2015's "A Tale of Love and Darkness.")

"What is it with actresses of your ilk? You 'A-listers' ... could change the world if you'd take a stand instead of being the problem," McGowan's message continued. "Yes, you, Natalie. You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem. ... I am singling you out because you are the latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women. Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality do not do much at all."

In order to walk the walk, McGowan suggested the "Black Swan" actress start by hiring more female filmmakers through her production company, Handsomecharlie Films.

According to IMDb, the company has so far made seven feature films, and enlisted only one female helmer, Portman, for " A Tale of Love and Darkness."

"There is no law that says you need to hire women, work with women, or support women," McGowan wrote. "By all means, you do you. But ... until you and your fellow actresses get real, do us all a favor and hang up your embroidered activist cloak, it doesn't hang right."

Portman also sparked backlash from others on social media who shared McGowan's frustration. Oscar-winning "Black Panther" production designer Hannah Beachler was among the first wave of skeptics to call the industry veteran out on Twitter on Monday.

"Be the change you want to see, do the hard work, take the first steps," Beachler wrote. "I applaud you for the dress, but let's do, not perform."

Sunday was not the first time Portman has used her platform to champion female directors at an awards show. While presenting the best director honor alongside Ron Howard at the 2018 Golden Globes, she famously took a swipe at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which has a long history of shutting women out of the directing category, saying, "Here are the all-male nominees." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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