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Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman responds to Rose McGowan’s Oscars dress criticism

‘I have tried, and I will keep trying’

Natalie Portman has issued a statement in response to Rose McGowan’s criticism of her Oscars dress as “deeply offensive”.

The Black Swan actor, who took to the  Oscars red carpet in a Dior couture cape embroidered with the names of the female directors snubbed by the Academy, was called out by McGowan, who called Portman a “fraud”, and said wearing the cloak wasn’t an act of bravery but “an actress acting the part of someone who cares”.

In a Facebook post, McGowan implied that Portman only speaks about working with women directors, but has only worked with two her entire career, if you count her own directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Responding to McGowan, Portman said: “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.”

Portman went on to say she hopes the industry will offer more opportunities for women to direct movies: “The past few years have seen a blossoming of directing opportunities for women due to the collective efforts of many people who have been calling out the system.”

This year’s Oscars were criticised for not highlighting more films by women, with acclaimed works like Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and Lulu Wang’s The Farewell snubbed of directing nominations.

“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,” Portman said.

“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.”