Portman smiles as she smashes the patriarchy
Portman smiles as she smashes the patriarchy

The Oscars red carpet was full of breathtaking attires and bold statements but it was Natalie Portman unapologetically owning the Academy with a declaration we're not going to forget.

Known for calling out white male privilege, and a lack of female representation embedded within the Academy customs, the actor shined in her black and gold Dior gown and cape, embroidered with the names of all women directors missing from the nominations list this year.

Offering a sartorial corrective to this year’s nominees, her ensemble pays tribute to Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Mati Diop (Atlantics), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).

"I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible work this year, in my subtle way," the 38-year-old actor said.

Portman ravishing in a gold and black haute Dior.
Portman ravishing in a gold and black haute Dior.

Her gown stirred applause all over social media, while one fan tweeted, "Her cape gives me life. I love her. Women directors have been snubbed time and time again and it's enough!! Give them the representation and attention they deserve!"

This is not the first time Portman has called out the callousness at award shows. Previously, while presenting the best director’s award at the 2018 Golden Globes, she amused the audience with the iconic opening line: “Here are all the male nominees.”

With Oscars known for a history of sexism, we’re keen to remember Kathryn Bigelow – who is the only woman to win best director in the 90-year history of the Academy Awards. In the year 2010, her movie Hurt Locker followed members of an Iraq-war bomb disposal team, and had us hope that the win would be an exhilarating opening for women who watch movies and women who make them – both groups conveniently unacknowledged in routine.

As Steve Martin and Chris Rock so eloquently put in support, “There was something missing from the nominee list this year: vaginas!”

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