Nobody wants to follow Oprah. And nobody wants to follow Oprah after she has brought the whole of Hollywood to its feet by giving a speech for the ages.
Luckily, Natalie Portman came prepared. As she stood in the wings at the Golden Globes, waiting to present the award for best director, she presumably handed her drink to someone to hold, took out her earrings and rolled up her sleeves. Because Natalie Portman is so over being polite about her industry’s gender problem. She does not have time for your fumbled apologies, empty promises and consistent deafness to change. She is here to Black Swan your patriarchal bullshit.
The look on her face as her co-presenter, Ron Howard, obediently read his autocue must be akin to someone who has just taken the pin out of a hand grenade. There is a whisper of a smile and a slight narrowing of eyes as she glances to the camera.
And then majestically… sublimely… she announces: “And here are the all-male nominees.”
Cue celebrations that can only really be expressed via the medium of Drag Race gifs.
Because, on a night filled with tension, solidarity and bravery, it was a real bummer to go from Oprah to being reminded that not only has it been 34 years since a woman won a Golden Globe for best director – Barbra Streisand for Yentl in 1984 – but that she is the only woman to have won it ever.
It is genuinely difficult to reconcile how Greta Gerwig directed the film awarded best film in the comedy/musical category, and directed her lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, to win best actress in the same category, and yet was not deemed worthy of even a nomination for best director.
And it’s not just Greta Gerwig. Where was Dee Rees for her stunning work on Mudbound? Where was Patty Jenkins for directing the fabulous Wonder Woman, one of the biggest box-office hits of 2017?
Instead, we had Guillermo del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg, who, despite some predictable online whingeing, were not being insulted by Portman – they were simply being described.
With two little words, Natalie Portman stuck up her middle finger to the room and everyone watching. And doing it in her Anne-Boleyn-esque black velvet Dior? Oof. It was a MOMENT.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a reaction shot of Meryl, Reese et al, but it’s safe to say that they were performing some kind of choreographed dance routine to a Destiny’s Child track.
Natalie Portman is so over being polite about her industry’s gender problem. She does not have time for your fumbled apologies, empty promises and consistent deafness to change
If Natalie Portman were any of the rest of us, she would have emitted an evil genius cackle at this point, but because she is a celestial being, she simply let her words hang in the air and stepped slightly back to survey the carnage with a look of satisfaction only previously seen on Cersei Lannister.
Because the best thing is that she has now inserted those two little words into the canon of awards shows. Every time anyone says, “Here are the nominees,” the ghost of Natalie Portman’s stinging burn will hang over them. She threw shade that will cast a long shadow.
It arguably drew bigger gasps than anything in Seth Meyers’ monologue. Because that’s where everyone expected the digs to come. The woke baes in the room were on board with the right-on comedy, the all-black dress code, the lapel pins and the powerful speeches, but they expected to be able to sit back and relax during the rest of the show.
They did not expect to be reminded that the system continues to screw over women by refusing to acknowledge, let alone reward, their work and their talent.