Natalie Portman uses Oscar gown to send a message
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Natalie Portman uses Oscar gown to send a message

Director Waad al-Kateab also wears dress embroidered to make her feelings known about lack of female nominees

Natalie Portman at the Oscars on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Natalie Portman at the Oscars on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman and Syrian director Waad al-Kateab both used embroidery on their Oscar outfits to send a message at the glitzy ceremony on Sunday.

Portman, who took the Best Actress Oscar in 2011 for “Black Swan,” let her feelings about the lack of nominations for female filmmakers be clearly known by having their names stitched onto the black Dior cape she wore over her gown.

The names included Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Melina Matsoukas (“Queen & Slim”), Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”), Céline Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”) and Mati Diop (“Atlantics”)

“I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way,” Portman told the Los Angeles Times.

This wasn’t the first time Portman has made her feelings clear about the lack of diversity at an awards ceremony — in 2018 when presenting the award for best director at the Golden Globes, she made a point of showing her disdain for the lack of female representation on the list, saying in her introduction, “and here are the all-male nominees.”

Waad Al-Kateab, left, and Hamza Al-Kateab at the Oscars, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Waad al-Kateab, co-director of the documentary “For Sama,” which tells stories of loss, laughter and survival in Aleppo, used her gown for political messaging in Arabic.

The dress was embroidered with an Arabic poem that translates as “We dared to dream and we will not regret dignity.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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