Natalie Portman talks Golden Globes ‘all male nominees’ moment and the ‘huge hole’ in culture

The actor and Time's Up advocate wants people to talk about the art lost to gender inequality

Natalie Portman has spoken about her viral “all male nominees” comment at the 2018 Golden Globes.

The actor was the guest presenter for the category of Best Director alongside Ron Howard at the January awards ceremony. Before the list of those in the running for the award were read out over the PA, Portman introduce the category by saying: “And here are the all male nominees.

There had been some criticism of the shortlist ahead of the Golden Globes due to its lack of recognition for female directors, such as Greta Gerwig, Patty Jenkins and Kathryn Bigelow.

In a new interview with Buzzfeed News, Portman explained how that comment came about. “I discussed with some of the women I’ve been working with that they had offered to me to present the director category, but I felt uncomfortable because it seemed to be excluding some deserving nominees,” she said.

“And how could I bring attention to it without disrespecting the nominees? Because it’s not their fault, and they all made great work. You don’t want to not recognise them. It’s just, why aren’t we recognising the people who aren’t part of this exclusive club?”

She continued to say that one of the women she spoke suggested she say the line that later went viral. “We have to make it weird for people to walk in a room where everyone’s not in the room,” Portman added. “If you look around a room and everyone looks like you, get out of that room. Or change that room. Whether you go to a restaurant, whether you go to your kid’s school, whether you go to work – if you look around, and everyone’s not in the room, change that room.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the actor, who is one of the 300 women who founded the Time’s Up movement at the beginning of the year, said there was a “huge hole in our culture” because of gender inequality and discrimination.

Asked about whether she felt Woody Allen’s career was over since the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements have sparked change in Hollywood, Portman said: “I don’t think that’s what the conversation should be about. I think it should be about, ‘Why didn’t Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn’t Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where’s the female version of Billy Cosby? Why don’t we see any Asian women in films?’

“There’s so much art that’s being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of colour. Let’s not talk about what man’s career is over. Let’s talk about the vast art trove we’ve lost by not giving women, people of colour, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities – let’s talk about that loss for all of us in art. Let’s talk about that huge hole in our culture. I don’t want to talk about, ‘Isn’t it sad that this person who’s made 500 movies can’t make movies anymore?’ That’s not for me to decide. And it’s also not what I’m upset about.”

Portman recently guest presented Saturday Night Live, during which she reprised and updated her infamous 2006 sketch Natalie’s Rap. The new version saw her reference Tide pods, Cardi B, Star Wars and the Time’s Up movement.