about that natalie portman comment

by Krystal Bick
January 9, 2018

Truth be told, I actually had a very different post written for today.

It was a post about jet lag and meditation and how I really can’t handle either (although I’m trying!), but in light of Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, I thought twice about it.

As I’m sure many of you already saw, read or have talked about at great length, the #TimesUp movement that hit the red carpet in LA was nothing short of, in my opinion, a moving and united message of action, support, and empathy for those facing sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. Those things are happening daily for some people, and with the help of the #TimesUp movement, more people are beginning to speak up against the people who are sexually harassing them. After speaking up, people are advised to try and find someone who is well-practiced in sexual harassment law to try and help them gain compensation if they are entitled to it for the experiences they’ve had to go through.

Debra Messing called out E! News for not paying their female anchors the same as their male counterparts, all WHILE giving an interview with E! News. Social justice activists like Tarana Burke (founder of the #MeToo movement) joined A-list celebrities as their companions for the evening. And if I’m not mistaken, my girl Oprah just threw her hat in for 2020 with that speech (and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited by the prospect of that).

But wait, what about that Natalie Portman comment? Yeah, let’s get into that Natalie Portman comment.

Again, as you may have already seen or heard or scrolled past, Natalie Portman presented the award for Best Director, her lead in line going something like this: “And here are the ALL MALE nominees for best director.”

Emphasis on “all.” Even bigger emphasis on “male.” And even bigger emphasis on the awkward look that Ron Howard by her side just couldn’t shake off fast enough.

I shared this exact moment on Insta Stories the other night — as I loved the overall brazenness of this move. The tact, delivery and perhaps the timing of the statement caught a lot of people off guard — including the nominees — and while I could see how this might seemingly shift the overall positive tone of the evening to that of seemingly bitter — I didn’t take it as such. She took a timely opportunity when she had a very global stage to make a point. (Continued below…keep scrolling)

OUTFIT DETAILS: Leone dress // Sergio Rossi heels // Olympia Le-Tan clutch // Celine sunglasses

The point that, like many other industries, not just Hollywood, there’s a fundamental accessibility issue. In it’s 75 years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has only nominated 6 female directors to date for a Golden Globe (with Barbra Streisand being nominated twice and winning once) — the numbers are even more dismal when you look at the Academy Awards.

And it’s largely due to the fact that female directors make up such a small percentage of top industry films (the ones that eventually get award buzz anyway), the reasons for such boiling down to studios, producers and film executives standing in the way of allowing that number to change and evolve. In fact, as of 2016, both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs launched an investigation into discriminatory hiring practices against female directors in Hollywood. Of the few women who eventually earn the helm of such top industry films, many find themselves left out of the awards race all together (like Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig).

I think Portman’s comment forced this conversation to take center stage. I didn’t take it as a plea for nominating women purely for the sake of hitting a female director quota — that doesn’t do anyone, male or female directors, any favors. And while I could see how it might alienate or even undermine the very talented men who were nominated, I also didn’t take it as a slight against those gentlemen either. I think what she was trying to highlight here was the question: why don’t we have more female directors being considered for these types of roles in the first place?

Of course, I always love hearing from you guys on these topics, even if we may see things differently — I think that’s the beauty in debate!

What did you think about Natalie Portman’s comment? Let me know in the comments below — or DM me on Instagram! Let’s chat!

As for these photos, Lydia and I actually snapped these while we were in LA earlier this year working with the Sarah Seven team on their Leone collection launch. It just dawned on me that I had never shared these photos and figured, in light of today’s post topic, the “You Are A Star” mural was all too fitting.

Photos by Lydia Hudgens

33 thoughts on “about that natalie portman comment

  1. Yes, yes, yes to this post. I love Natalie Portman and know that I’m not the only young woman who looks up to her so I was very happy that she used her platform to address this. These photos are so fitting by the way. What a cool mural!

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

  2. I totally agree with you, I didn’t think that she was trying to be mean or start drama but rather that she
    tried to raise a question why are there that many great and successful male directors and why there
    aren’t more female ones. I do also think that it’s a great way to make female directors bit step up their game
    as if they don’t “place” themselves as a competition, the movie world/ directors will stay male dominated
    You are looking like a star in this gorgeous, minimalistic and feminine outfit. 🙂


  3. I feel a wee bit torn! I think it was awesome and powerful and bold of her to do, and I applaud her for that. And I think there does need to be more done to figure out why women are so underrepresented in that field and what can be done to fix. But what I don’t really like is the joy people are finding in watching the nominees squirm with awkwardness, as even though their SHOULD be more female directors and nominees, the men who were nominated do still deserve to be able to celebrate their accomplishment in that moment.

    • I completely agree with you here — I, too, feel torn in that sense, because I would never want a message to come at the expense of someone else. I think what was meant as a jab at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (for not nominating any of the worthy female contenders this year), turned into a media circus as to how many different uncomfortable expressions can fit into one meme.

  4. I didn’t agree with Natalie Portman’s comment at all. I thought it came across quite spiteful & kind of ruined the actual nominees moments. It wasn’t their fault there were no women nominated but now it’s her that people will remember more than the guy who actually won.

    • Hi Rosemary! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment! I agree with you — it perhaps seemingly undermined the achievements of that deserving group of nominees. I think the surprise delivery of it is largely the cause of that — and the focusing on the nominees reactions afterward. I do think her intention was to jab at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — not the nominees — but I can see your point that it could be interpreted that way. Thanks again for your comment and joining the discussion!

  5. I loved it and I don’t there should be any shame in her saying it. There were great films directed by women this year and even some films that got recognition on Sunday, but SOMEHOW they weren’t on par to be nominated for director? Makes no sense. Sometimes you do have to make people uncomfortable because that is how growth happens.

  6. I loved that she called it out. It is true and should be said. I think there was no better time for her to say something with such a large audience. Go Natalie!

    • Hi Faith! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment! I’m glad she did it as well and it got the desired effect — it got men and women talking about something that is too often overlooked.

  7. I think it’s about time that this topic came up. I used to study film and I thought that I wanted to be a part of the film industry but I remember growing up and thinking, where are all the women behind the scenes?! I think it takes a lot of bravery and tact to bring this all up the way she did and she did a great job!


    • Hi Shloka! Thanks for your comment here! I agree — and I think Oprah expressed this same sentiment beautifully the other night. Just being able to see at least one person you identify with (be it the color of your skin, the gender you identify with etc.) helps encourage people to pursue those pathways.

  8. Wow! I love that she said what she said. I also appreciate the research that went into this personal essay. Goodness, there’s a revolution happening over there. Now I want to see what the rest of the world is thinking. I’ve been meaning to ask my HK colleagues if they’ve noticed anything different happening in their local news. I’ll let you know….

    Great piece with perfectly paired pics Krystal.

    Love, Ann

    • Hi Ann! Always great to hear from you! Thank you for reading — I’m glad it resonated with you! I would love to hear what your HK colleagues have to say about this — please keep me posted! As for this mural, can you tell I’m giving James Dean the eye here? 😉

  9. Really love this post and commend you on breaking your plans to talk about it. I skipped the Golden Globes this year because when I skimmed through the nominees — they ticked me off. Of course while not watching…my social media feeds were flooded by her remarks and I was (in a nutshell) over the moon!! It was so beautifully interjected and I HOPE will make the Academy Awards take note with their nominations, that have yet to be announced. For Lady Bird to win multiple statues and not even earn a nomination for Best Director (who was yes, a female) seems criminal.

    Bravo Natalie. Bravo women of Hollywood for breaking their silence. May this momentum continue!!

    xoxo – Kelly

    • Hi Kelly! Thanks for reading and thank you so much for your comment! I couldn’t agree more — may the momentum continue the conversation, may the conversation continue the action!

  10. I loved her comment. Challenging the status quo is rarely without some discomfort or “drama” that is the whole point ! We become so used to things being a certain way that it takes something major to recognize just how ingrained it is in us… a perfect example of … “time’s up”

  11. Sorry you bought into all that dribble. It was a big “look at me” event. These little starlets need to do something more than show up in front of the press in an insanely expensive e dress to make a “possitve” change. Spend more time and money on our vets, real heros, not the people that are so idolized for being pretty.

    • Hi Becky! Thanks for reading and thank you for your comment! I agree, there are definite changes that need to happen to help level the playing field across all walks of life — from vets to domestic workers, from engineers to politicians, and everyone in between. I took her comment not just as a question as to why we don’t have more female directors, but also why we don’t have more female leaders in other industries. As always, thanks for reading and thank you for joining the discussion!

  12. I loved what she chose to do. Look at how people are reacting over *two words* which were a statement of fact! And she delivered them devoid of emotion. That’s so powerful. To those who feel sorry for the white male nominees who might have had their moment of glory tarnished for a few moments — I just think of all the times women and POC have had their moments stolen, hijacked, ruined or never offered to begin with. The simple fact is that those in power are going to have to share in the discomfort as we begin the long road to leveling the playing field.

    I really enjoyed your write up and particularly enjoyed considering a more serious topic and discussion, with your beautiful photos as a backdrop. It works for me.

    • Hi Krissy — thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment here! I think you hit the nail on the head — while her comment wasn’t meant to insult or undermine the men who were nominated, the subsequent discomfort they may have felt pales when you compare it to the collective whole of how women have been slighted and excluded from these same moments. I don’t believe in an eye for an eye — but I also don’t think this qualifies as that here. Thank you again for reading! Means a lot to me!

  13. I do not agree with Natalie Portman in this case — though I understand why she did and have admiration. Yes, men dominate Hollywood, but women also play a pivotal role in the success of the industry. Penny Marshall, Kathryn Bigelow, Ava DuVernay, Sofia Coppola, Amy Heckerling and many other female directors are responsible for some of today’s most memorable films. Is Hollywood a boy’s club? Absolutely and right now, it SUCKS to be a man in show business. As we shift gears from a casting couch culture to a more dignified ethos in film and television, I am confident women like women like Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, and many others will set an example and continue to pave the way for more female inclusion and thought provoking stories. I hope the days objectifying women are done. I want to see more women being recognized for their accomplishments in television, film, and entertainment..
    Great photos and piece! I enjoyed reading everyone’s point of views and reaction — such refreshing dialogue!

    • Thanks for your comment, Jes and you bring up a lot of good points! I agree — hopefully by more women being able to join the ranks as directors of leading films, it’ll change the overall dynamic of Hollywood for the better, making it more inclusive and diverse.

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