CULTURE

Natalie Portman Had the Perfect Response to Rose McGowan's Criticism

Rose McGowan had harsh words for Natalie Portman this week, but Portman channeled the drama into a message of solidarity

Rose McGowan came at Natalie Portman hard on Wednesday, saying that her Oscar's dress was "deeply offensive."

The dress in question featured a Dior cape that had been specially embroidered with the names of prominent female directors who didn't receive nominations that many people feel they deserve. The names included Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), and Lulu Wang (The Farewell).

Calling out the Academy for overlooking female talent has been a popular theme this year, from Issa Rae's "Congratulations to those men," while announcing the nominations, to Chris Rock and Steve Martin's onstage joke that there's something missing—va*inas. All of which could be seen as callbacks to Natalie Portman's 2018 comments at the Golden Globes, when she introduced the directing category by saying, "here are the all-male nominees."

Natalie Portman at the Golden Globes

But apparently this sort of "activism" does not exactly impress Rose McGowan—at least not on its own. It's understandable that McGowan—whose 2018 memoir Brave detailed her experiences of sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and others—would have some strong opinions on how to fight back. She attributes the decline of her acting career to her efforts to resist Weinstein's attacks—after he (allegedly) raped her in a hotel room in 1997.

She also names several other women whom she claims were similarly punished and is working on a follow-up memoir, Trust, about learning to move forward. She has championed the #MeToo movement and made it her mission to change the toxic misogyny within Hollywood—that uses and abuses and discards talented young women. In that light, her problem with Portman's fashion choice was not so much with the cape itself, but with Portman failing to back up the sentiment in her professional life.

In a post on Facebook, McGowan made her point clear, accusing Portman of being "an actress acting the part of someone who cares." She decried the idea that members of the media would refer to such a superficial expression of solidarity as "bravery" and addressed Natalie directly, saying, "Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career-one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you… You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem."

Rose McGowan Rankin

While McGowan's claim overlooked some shorts and anthology movies, others have noted that of the seven feature-length films that Portman's production company, Handsomecharlie, has been involved in, only Portman's own directorial debut, 2015's A Tale of Love and Darkness, was directed solely by a woman. That paints a pretty clear picture of a problem, and it would obviously be hard for Portman to deny it. Fortunately, she didn't. She didn't go on the attack or get defensive. She came out with a statement on Thursday striking a tone of hope and solidarity.

She started out by agreeing with much of McGowan's criticism, saying, "I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me 'brave' for wearing a garment with women's names on it. Brave is a term I more strongly associate with actions like those of the women who have been testifying against Harvey Weinstein the last few weeks, under incredible pressure." She then went on to acknowledge that she hasn't worked with as many female directors as she would like, while also calling out systemic issues that prevent female-helmed projects from getting made and taking the opportunity to name check a host of talented female directors who deserve more work:

"In my long career, I've only gotten the chance to work with female directors a few times—I've made shorts, commercials, music videos and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat and myself. Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history… I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work… So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have not yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day."

Natalie Portman We Should All Be Feminists A pregnant Natalie Portman speaking at the Women's March 2017

While McGowan's anger is understandable, Portman handled the situation perfectly. She took the energy of that discontent and the criticism and channeled it toward opening the conversation to the larger issues that prevent female directors from getting work—issues that one small production company can only do so much to address. With luck maybe this conversation will begin to push Hollywood institutions to rethink the sexist calculus that robs so many talented women of work.

Film Lists

How to Stream All the 2020 Oscar Winning Movies

Its not too late to find out what all the hype is about.

The Academy Awards have the power to cement certain films into our collective cultural consciousness.

Just being nominated for an Oscar tends to lend a second life to a film, and a win adds even more to a movie's legacy. Last night, Parasite swept the major categories winning four awards including Best Picture. Its safe to say that anyone who hasn't yet seen Parasite will make it a priority in the coming days to find out what all the hype is about. If you're like many people, you probably didn't see the majority of the nominated films that took home golden statues last night. But don't worry, its not too late.

How to watch the Oscar winning films:

Parasite—Best picture, director, international feature film and original screenplay

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Joker—Joaquin Phoenix for best actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Judy—Renée Zellweger for best actress

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood—Brad Pitt for best supporting actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Marriage Story—Laura Dern for best supporting actress

Stream on Netflix

1917—Best cinematography, visual efforts and sound mixing

preorder on Amazon

Little Women—Best costume design

preorder on Amazon

Bombshell—Best makeup and hairstyling

preorder on Amazon

American Factory—Best documentary feature

Stream on Netflix


How to watch the Oscar-nominated films:

The Irishman—Nominated for best picture, director, supporting actor

Stream on Netflix

Jojo Rabbit—Nominated for best picture, best supporting actress

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Ford v Ferrari—Nominated for best picture

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Pain and Glory—Nominated for best actor

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

The Two Popes—Nominated for Best actor

Stream on Netflix

Harriet—Nominated for best actress

Rent or buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube

Richard Jewell—Nominated for best supporting actress

preorder on Amazon

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood—Nominated for best supporting actor

Buy: Amazon, Apple, YouTube


How to watch the Oscar winning/nominated short films:

Brotherhood

Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.

Dcera (Daughter)

Streaming on Vimeo

Hair Love

Streaming on YouTube.

In the Absence

Streaming on Vimeo.

Kitbull

Streaming on Disney+ and YouTube.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're A Girl)

Streaming on A&E, Sling TV, and Philo.

Life Overtakes Me

Streaming on Netflix.

Nefta Football Club

Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.

Sister

Streaming on YouTube.

The Neighbors' Window

Streaming on Vimeo and YouTube.

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Streaming on Vimeo.

With awards season officially underway, the Oscars have announced their full list of the 2020 nominees.

Joker leads the pack with a grand total of 11 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. Three films each earned eight nods: The Irishman, 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Although fans were disappointed to see no Director recognition for Greta Gerwig—or any woman, for that matter—her adaptation of Little Women still racked up six nominations. It was also a big year for South Korean thriller Parasite, which got six nods as well, including for Best Picture, Director, and International Feature.

Below, here's all the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards.

Motion Picture

Ford v Ferrari (Fox), Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers

The Irishman (Netflix), Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight), Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi, Producers

Joker (Warner Bros.), Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

Little Women (Sony), Amy Pascal, Producer

Marriage Story (Netflix), Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers

1917 (Universal), Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony), David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers

Parasite (Neon), Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers

Actress

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)

Charlize Theron (Bombshell)

Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Actor

Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)

Laura Dern (Marriage Story)

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)

Florence Pugh (Little Women)

Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Al Pacino (The Irishman)

Joe Pesci (The Irishman)

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)

Director

Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

Sam Mendes (1917)

Todd Phillips (Joker)

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Adapted Screenplay

The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)

Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)

Joker (Todd Phillips & Scott Silver)

Little Women (Greta Gerwig)

The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)

Original Screenplay

1917 (Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns)

Knives Out (Rian Johnson)

Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)

Parasite (Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han)

International Feature

Corpus Christi (Poland)

Honeyland (North Macedonia)

Les Misérables (France)

Pain and Glory (Spain)

Parasite (South Korea)

Documentary Feature

American Factory (Netflix), Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert

The Cave (National Geographic), Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjaer

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix), Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan

For Sama (PBS), Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

Honeyland (Neon), Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev

Animated Feature Film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dreamworks), Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold

I Lost My Body (Netflix), Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice

Klaus (Netflix), Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román

Missing Link (United Artists Releasing), Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight

Toy Story 4 (Pixar), Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera

Production Design

The Irishman, Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves

Jojo Rabbit, Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková

1917, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Parasite, Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo

Film Editing

Ford v Ferrari, Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker

The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker

Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles

Joker, Jeff Groth

Parasite, Jinmo Yang

Cinematography

1917 (Roger Deakins)

The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)

Joker (Lawrence Sher)

The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Robert Richardson)

Visual Effects

1917

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Costume Design

The Irishman, Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson

Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo

Joker, Mark Bridges

Little Women, Jacqueline Durran

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

Sound Mixing

1917

Ad Astra

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sound Editing

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Original Song

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, " Toy Story 4, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," Rocketman, Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin

"I'm Standing With You," Breakthrough, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

"Into The Unknown," Frozen II, Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

"Stand Up," Harriet, Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

Original Score

Joker, Hildur Gudnadóttir

Little Women, Alexandre Desplat

Marriage Story, Randy Newman

1917, Thomas Newman

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker

Joker, Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou

Judy, Jeremy Woodhead

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White

1917, Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole

Live Action Short Film

Brotherhood

Nefta Football Club

The Neighbors' Window

Saria

A Sister

Animated Short Film

Dcera (Daughter), Daria Kashcheeva

Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver

Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson

Memorabl, Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corree

Sister, Siqi Song

Documentary Short Subject

In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva

Life Overtakes Me, John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson

St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt

FILM

"Little Women" Is the Cure for 2019

Try being cynical during this movie. We dare you.

When asked by well-meaning older relatives—with faith in capitalism still shining in their eyes—if I want to have children someday, I usually respond with something like, "With fascism on the rise and an inevitable resource war on the horizon? With each day of inaction marching humanity closer to utter annihilation at the hands of climate change? I don't want to ruin my t*ts, Grandma."

Needless to say, I am a cynic by nature and circumstance and definitely an insufferable smartass.

2019 only further exacerbated my tendency to look on the dark side. Afterall, how can anyone truly believe that humanity has any fundamental goodness left with Donald Trump as president, cross-body fanny packs gaining in popularity, and CATS the movie existing? It's been a long year of absurdity in popular culture and politics; so dark and absurd, in fact, that my usual go-to feel-good flicks no longer do much to assuage my sorrow. I watched Love Actually on Christmas Eve and felt as empty as Kira Knightly's sallow, wan cheeks. Not even the precious ghost dog in Coco could touch my existential dread this holiday season. I was beginning to feel that there was nothing that could make the horror of 2019 feel distant, until, hungover and full of Sunday chilli, I accompanied my immediate family on an outing to see Greta Gerwig's Little Women.

As my mother's favorite childhood book, Little Women has always held a special place in my family's collective consciousness. Despite this, admittedly, my expectations were low. I knew the story well, and while I loved its relentless optimism in previous eras of my life, I struggled to believe the endearing March family and their romantic, simple adventures could possibly shine any light on the complicated darkness of 2019. I expected it to only make me feel worse, like a person in a depressive episode seeing Christmas lights.

Little Women 2019 Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen


Based on Louisa May-Alcott's 1868 novel, the 2019 remake of Little Women stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper, and Meryl Streep. As the movie began, I was immediately arrested by the piercing blue of Ronan's eyes and the adorableness of Pugh's button nose, and things only got better from there. First of all, there was something so deeply appealing about Laura Dern as Marmie, the mother of the titular little women, that I questioned whether I wanted her to give me a bath or to take a bath with her. Anyway, Freud aside, the tears began to flow around minute 11 of the movie. I touched my damp face with shock. Since the night of the 2016 election, the tears of rage and sorrow have come with less and less frequency as numbness quietly set in. And yet, here I was...feeling? In 2019? Unheard of.

Matters only worsened as my cold, dead heart was warmed by the selflessness of Beth (Eliza Scanlen), only to be broken by her illness, revived by Emma Watson's dreaminess in a pink dress, sent soaring by Jo's (Saorise Ronan) insistence on following her dreams, and stirred again by Timothee Chalamet's ass in a pair of high-waisted trousers. Suddenly, my cares seemed to melt away. As Father finally returned from war, Donald Trump's Twitter account seemed like a distant dream. When Jo cried, "My sister!" as she pulled Amy from the frigid water, in my heart, the United Kingdom was still firmly a part of the European Union. As Frederic turned to see Jo clasping her heart during the opera and a slow smile spread across his face, it was as if low rise jeans had never come back in style.

Little Women Laurie and Jo Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet


Indeed, there is something so consciously optimistic about Greta Gerwig's movie, so rebelliously pure, that even I—infamous for lamenting the scientific improbability of balloons lifting a whole house during a screening of Up at 12 years old—couldn't find any foothold for cynicism. It almost made me want to give in to my biological drive to reproduce and justify it with "maybe my kid will cure cancer!" or, more accurately in that moment, "maybe my children will put on adorable plays for the other neighborhood children like the little women!" Essentially, the movie dares to exist outside our collective exhaustion and despair, insistent on coaxing us into a kind of childhood delight, but it's also not without political, impactful moments that are presented so cleverly amidst the earnestness that they don't feel part of the monotonous drone of "political" cinema. Of course, part of the credit for the brilliance of Little Women must be given to Louisa May-Alcott, who managed to craft a comforting salve for heartache out of a story that, on the surface, is often devastating. But it was a stroke of genius by Greta Gerwig to make this movie now, in the midst of a time of international tumult, to offer audiences two hours of genuine relief from the brutality of 2019.

If you feel yourself (like me) retreating into your cave of sarcastic jokes, existential dread, and black turtlenecks, go see Little Women and let yourself enjoy it without guilt. It serves as a vital reminder that as long as we have each other, good stories, and deeply-needed respite from the real world, we may be able to gather just enough strength to make 2020 better than 2019. Maybe it'll even be great.

FILM

Marriage Story Might Help You Understand Your Parents' Divorce

Divorce is an emotionally turbulent ride, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Netflix

Admittedly, I'm a little late to the hype train for Marriage Story, director Noah Baumbach's movie about a spiraling divorce between two people who still care about each other.

For months, seemingly every other article in the entire cine-sphere has been about how Marriage Story is Netflix's best movie of the year or how Adam Driver walked out of an interview after they showed a clip of him singing or how dancing Scarlett Johansson is a meme now.

So I got it. Marriage Story was supposed to be very good. But in spite of the accolades, I decided to hold off on watching it immediately. I had a feeling that, having grown up as a child of divorce, Marriage Story might induce some unpleasant flashbacks. I wanted to make sure I was in the right headspace to properly deal with that before going in.

To some extent, I was right. There are a lot of elements of Marriage Story that I imagine will drum up painful memories, both for people who have gone through divorces themselves and children who watched their parents go through the process. The most memorable scene in Marriage Story, perhaps, is the vicious argument between Adam Driver's Charlie and Scarlett Johansson's Nicole, wherein all of Charlie's pent up rage, both at Nicole and the divorce process, explodes. It's a scene absolutely surging with raw emotion, and it reminded me of all the fights I grew up watching at home.

Marriage Story Netflix

But what truly makes Marriage Story great, aside from the impeccable performances from Driver and Johansson, is the catharsis it offers throughout. Baumbach's exploration of divorce is extremely nuanced, treating both of its lead characters with compassion and empathy. The movie opens with Charlie and Nicole reading letters that convey the things they love about one another, portraying both characters as exceedingly real. In the same way that sometimes people fall out of love over time, sometimes the same thing we once loved about someone transforms into something irreconcilable.

For instance, at one point in their relationship, Nicole loved Charlie's sense of direction in life and his ability to seemingly always know exactly what he wanted to do. But as their relationship proceeded, the downsides to that trait came into starker focus––Charlie always knew what he wanted to do, in large part, because he valued his own opinion and wants above everyone else's. Eventually, Nicole's love for that aspect of Charlie soured into the feeling that she had lost her own identity throughout their relationship.

The point to all of this is that, a lot of the time, children of divorce have a hard time reconciling two distinct images of their parents––the first image being their parents in a functioning relationship with one another and the second image being their parents as bitter enemies. Of course, this isn't true for all divorces, but it certainly was for me. Naturally, as children we oftentimes choose between our parents. But the beauty of Marriage Story is in its ability to show us an intricate, sometimes brutal conflict between two mostly decent people without making us pick a side.

Both Charlie and Nicole's hardships through the divorce process are on full display, and both believe that they're doing the right thing. They both love their son. Their relationship was complex, failing for multiple reasons, and their contempt is complicated by the fact that they both still care about one another. And after the dust settles, they figure out a way to be co-parents, even if it's not ideal for either party.

In a sense, Marriage Story is an almost wholesome view of divorce, ultimately conveying the message that even though divorce is harsh, brutal, awful even, eventually it will be over. And once it's over, people can heal, and people can change, and people who care about their children can continue to be there for them. My prevailing feeling by the end of Marriage Story wasn't bitterness or sadness, but hope. It's an emotionally turbulent ride, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

In the real world, people are much more complicated than whatever black-and-white images we may have of them from specific points in our lives. People change over time, and if they can change for the worse, maybe they can also change for the better. And while every relationship is certainly complex and entirely different, perhaps Marriage Story will help you look at whatever divorce lies in your past with a fresh perspective.

If you haven't heard, Marriage Story exists, and the memes are abundant.

After many years lurking in the shadows, tall man Adam Driver seems to be undergoing a transformation from mid-level meme to mainstream meme, and here at Popdust, we're very happy for him (albeit still half-convinced he's just a knockoff Keanu Reeves).

Marriage Story has received glowing reviews so far, and has also been excelling in screencap format. Most likely, this is thanks to the strength, notoriety, and expressiveness of its stars. Though most people would struggle to compete with Scarlett Johansson, who is capable of playing a tree, Driver seems to be even more distraught and emotive than our resident foliage impersonator in the film's seminal fight scene.

One frame in particular has captivated our imaginations:

Yes, it's a glorious before-and-during image of Adam Driver hitting a wall. It's the depressing, dramatic, suburban norm-core version of a primal scream, and it's instantly, beautifully relatable. In 2019, a year of chaos and pent-up energy, I'd imagine most people can relate to this image for one reason or another.

Perhaps 2020 will be better, a decade of change and action. But for now, no one is okay. There are just so many questions. Can we stan ScarJo after her Woody Allen comments? Just how tall is Adam Driver, really? How tall is Adam Driver, spiritually? Do we need another film about white people getting divorced within the confines of a beige room? The climate is changing so why even get married and have children when you're going to damn them to a future of unbearable suffering?

But we human beings are resilient. Maybe we will institute a Green New Deal and Medicare For All so people can suffer through unbearable marriages on this unbearable yet shockingly magnificent planet in relative peace and harmony.

Regardless, Kylo Ren, we relate.