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Girls & Women

Natalie Portman’s Subtle Dig at the Golden Globes Makes an Important Point

And the award for keeping it the realest goes to...Natalie Portman. 

On Sunday, Portman took the 2018 Golden Globes by storm while presenting the winners of the award for Best Director. Following Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech about sexual harassment, discrimination, and women’s empowerment, Portman joined Ron Howard on stage to present the sought-after distinction. 

“We are honored ... to be here to present the award for best director," Howard said. 

“And here are the all-male nominees,” Portman added, stone-faced. 

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With these seven words, Portman made a critical point about the lack of women in Hollywood not only on screen, but behind the camera, as well. 

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No woman has won Best Director at the Golden Globes since, wait for it, 1984. That year, 34 years ago, Barbra Streisand won the award for her film, “Yentl.” That was the first and last time a woman would win the award. 

In this, the award show’s 75th iteration, only seven women have ever been nominated for Best Director, according to TIME Magazine

At the Oscars, which have been going on since the 1920s, just four women have been nominated, with one woman — Kathryn Bigelow — winning the distinction of best director, TIME reports. 

Read More: ‘Wonder Woman’ Director Claps Back After James Cameron Calls Film a ‘Step Backwards’

Among this year’s nominees (Guillermo Del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg) there were no women, even though several female directors could have easily made the cut. These women include, perhaps most notably, Greta Gerwig, director of “Lady Bird,” and Patty Jenkins, director of “Wonder Woman.”

It shouldn’t be too surprising that so few women have been nominated for the award, given the dearth of women directors in the first place. 

Women directed just 7% of the 250 highest-grossing films in 2016, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Dr. Martha Lauzen, who directed the study, attributed this disparity to both bias — female-directed films are considered to be riskier in the industry — and a lack of opportunity for women directors. Despite relative success on individual films, women-directed films are often considered “one and done” and women are less likely to continue directing films later in their careers, the report showed

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This pattern is nothing new. According to a different study from the University of Southern California Annenberg, male directors in Hollywood have outnumbered female ones by almost 24 to one in the past decade, Vanity Fair reports

Read More: 20 Incredible Films Directed by Women That You Should Be Watching

After a flagship year for women in 2016 that saw millions around the world take part in the Women’s March in January and women across social media share their stories of harassment and sexual assault using the hashtag #MeToo, the Golden Globes missed out on an opportunity to begin to correct for its persistent gender gap. 

But in other ways, the Golden Globes kicked off what could be another banner year for women on a positive note. 

Oprah’s rousing speech on female empowerment led to speculation of a 2020 presidential run — though there’s no telling how much of that can be attributed to wishful thinking from her millions of fans. Many women wore black in a show of protest against rampant sexual harassment and assault in the industry. Others signed an open letter saying “time’s up” for gender discrimination and inequality. 

And last night, Streisand, the only woman ever to win a Golden Globe award for Best Director, announced the most prestigious award, Best Motion Picture, while sounding out a powerful message for equality

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“I’m very proud to stand in a room with people who speak out against gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the pettiness that has poisoned our politics,” she said. “And I’m proud that our industry, when faced with uncomfortable truths, has vowed to change the ways we do business.”

The winner of that award? 

“Lady Bird.”