Natalie Portman’s Oscars look directed a subtle ‘fuck you’ at the Academy

The actress’s Dior Haute Couture cape was embroidered with the names of eight female directors snubbed by the institution

Though the Oscars has been called out countless times for its lack of diversity, little seems to change – particularly when it comes to its best director category. 

In the running for the award this year are the likes of Martin Scorcese for the mind-numbingly boring Netflix ordeal that was The Irishman (do not @ me), Sam Mendes for yet-another-big-budget-war-movie (1917), and... not one single female director, despite some of 2019’s best films having been helmed by women. 

Making a quiet statement as to that very oversight at tonight’s ceremony was Natalie Portman, whose floor-length cape was embroidered with the names of eight female directors who deserved to be recognised: Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Lorene Scafaria, Mati Diop, Marielle Heller, Melina Matsoukas, Alma Har’el, and Celine Sciamma, who were behind films including Hustlers, Honey Boy, Queen & Slim, Little Women, and Atlantics

“I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible work this year in a subtle way,” explained Portman as she arrived at the Academy Awards. The gold and black gown and matching cape are the work of Dior, which, in the hands of current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, has become known for its strong feminist themes and championing of female creatives.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the actress has called out the institution’s failings when it comes to spotlighting and celebrating female talent. In 2018, she famously quipped “and now, here are the all male nominees” when presenting the award for best director at the Golden Globes

As it currently stands, only one woman has won the best director award in the Oscars’ 92 year history, with Katheryn Bigelow taking home the prize for Hurt Locker in 2010. To the Academy, we implore you: ffs, just do better.

Revisit the SS20 Dior Couture show above.