Natalie Portman won the 2010 Best Actress Academy Award for her role as an unhinged ballerina in “Black Swan.” The 29-year-old Israeli-American was considered the strong favorite for the award, having dominated the various awards shows leading up to the Oscars.
Portman trained five hours a day for six months to prepare for “Black Swan,” a project she and director Darren Aronofsky first discussed about nine years ago. When they started shooting the film in 2009, it had not secured any financing. Her character, desperately insecure and possibly still a virgin, contends with professional jealousies and rivalries as she secures the dual lead roles in “Swan Lake.”
The film was a commercial and critical hit, with worldwide ticket sales of more than $200 million. As a bonus, Portman last year announced she was pregnant and would marry the baby’s father, “Black Swan” choreographer Benjamin Millepied, whom she met on the set. She previously received an Oscar nomination in 2005, for her supporting role in “Closer.”
Portman’s rivals were four-time nominee Annette Bening for “The Kids Are All Right,” previous Oscar winner Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone,” and Michelle Williams for “Blue Valentine.”
Get to know this great actress a little better:
Natalie Portman was born on June 9th, 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel, as the only child of a doctor father (from Israel) and an artist mother (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie’s agent. She left Israel for Washington, DC, when she was still very young. After a few more moves, her family finally settled in New York, where she still lives to this day. She graduated with honors, and her academic achievements allowed her to attend Harvard.She was discovered by an agent in a pizza parlor at the age of 11. She was pushed towards a career in modeling, but she decided that she would rather pursue a career in acting. She was featured in many live performances, but she made her powerful film debut in 1994, in the movie “The Professional”.
But it wasn’t until 1999 that Natalie received worldwide fame as Queen Amidala in Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III. Afterwards, she starred in two critically acclaimed comedy dramas, “Anywhere But Here” (1999), “Where The Heart Is” (2000), and Closer (2004), for which she received an Oscar nomination.
Some trivia about Natalie Portman:
. She can speak two languages, Hebrew and English (her native languages), fluently. Also knows some conversational French, German, and Japanese and Spanish.
. She has been a vegetarian since the age of 8, and became a vegan in 2009.
. Has taken dance lessons since the age of 4. Is trained in ballet, jazz, and tap dancing.
. Received her Harvard degree in Psychology in June of 2003.
. Grew up in Syosset, Long Island, New York, where she still resides.
. Is very close to her parents and says, “The best part about being friends with your parents is that no matter what you do, they always love you.”
. Favorite actor is Ben Kingsley.
. Shares a birthday with Johnny Depp and Michael J. Fox.
. Took diving courses in Eilat, Israel. Diving is one of her favorite hobbies.
. Turned down the title role in Adrian Lyne’s Lolita (1997), due to her feelings about young adult actors/actresses being exposed to sex in films.
. Takes pride in the fact that she is a role model for girls and chooses roles that are positive, so that they will have a positive role model to look up to.
. David Letterman and Harpers and Queen magazines said that she is “the new Audrey Hepburn”.
Watch the trailers of some of the movies Natalie Portman has starred in: