The 2020 Academy Awards are underway in Los Angeles and the red carpet has already been used by a number of women to make statements well beyond their gowns.
Actress, producer and director Natalie Portman embroidered her Dior cape with the names of women who weren’t nominated for the 92nd Academy Awards.
“I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible art this year … in my subtle way,” Portman explained.
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) February 10, 2020
The women included Lorene Scafaria for “Hustlers”, Lulu Wang for “The Farewell”, Greta Gerwig for “Little Women”, Marielle Heller for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, Melina Matsoukas for “Queen & Slim”, Alma Har’el for “Honey Boy”, Céline Sciamma for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Mati Diop for “Atlantics”.
No female directors were nominated for Best Director this year, an occurrence Portman has highlighted previously.
Only five women have ever been nominated for best director and Kathryn Bigelow remains the only female to ever win the prestigious accolade for The Hurt Locker.
Portman wasn’t the only attendee to use embroidery to make a statement.
Filmmaker, activist and mother Waad Al-Kateab is wearing a dress embroidered with an Arabic poem that translates to ‘We dared to dream and we will not regret dignity’.
Waad al-Kateab, the Syrian filmmaker from Aleppo who made the heartbreaking “For Sama”, has shown up at the Oscars tonight wearing a dress embroidered with the words: “we dared to dream.” And, “we don’t regret asking for our dignity”. Incredible movie, deserves to win pic.twitter.com/oiCiH0Sk54
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) February 9, 2020
Al-Kateab’s critically acclaimed documentary, “For Sama”, chronicles her family’s experiences in Syria and the targeting of Aleppo’s hospitals by regime bombardment.
If you noticed the embroidery on @waadalkateab’s dress, you’ll be interested to know that it’s an Arabic poem that translates as “we dared to dream and we will not regret dignity” #oscars #redcarpet #redcarpetfashion #oscars2020 #waadalkateab #forsama pic.twitter.com/XzLPaZbgUF
— For Sama (@forsamafilm) February 9, 2020
While no female filmmakers were nominated for Best Director, Al-Kateab is among four female directors of feature documentaries nominated.
4 of the 5 feature documentaries nominated for an Oscar this year are directed or co-directed by women. 3 of those stories revolve around women, focused on their daily struggles and lived experiences. And all of them feature a diversity of languages. https://t.co/AQFVx5QoLt
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 10, 2020
A few years ago the hashtag #AskHerMore trended in a bid to promote asking women on the red carpet more than just “Who are you wearing?”
In 2020 it seems women themselves don’t need to wait for more questions. They’re answering the questions they wanted asked.