• Natalie Portman attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Getty Images)
In explaining the choice of her black Dior statement cape, the actress said she wanted to shine a light on the work of women who had been overlooked.
By
SBS staff writers

10 Feb 2020 - 12:38 PM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2020 - 3:26 PM

Natalie Portman has worn a cape to the 2020 Oscars emblazoned with the names of female directors snubbed at this year's awards. 

In explaining the choice of her black Dior statement cape, the actress said she wanted to shine a light on the work of women who had been overlooked. 

"I wanted to recognise the women who weren’t recognised for their incredible work this year in my subtle way," she told reporters on the red carpet. 

The cape featured the names of female directors who all directed popular films in 2019 but did not get nominated for a gong - including  Lulu Wang for the "The Farewell" and Greta Gerwig for the acclaimed "Little Women", as well as Olivia Wilde, Alma Har’el and Celine Sciamma.

The lack of female directors nominated in the category fuelled a hashtag #oscarssomale, protesting the fact that only five women have ever been nominated for best director, and only one woman Kathryn Bigelow (for "The Hurt Locker") has ever won in the category in the Oscars' 92-year history. Only one person of colour (Cynthia Erivo for "Harriet") was voted this year, in the major acting categories.

Calls around lack of diversity, including #oscarssowhite 2015 campaign, fuelled  membership changes in the Academy's voting body in 2015 and 2018.

Membership of women went up 25 per cent to 31 per cent in 2015 and expanded to 49 per cent in 2018. Representation of people of colour rose from 8 per cent to 16 per cent in 2015 and 38 per cent in 2018. 

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