|V for Vendett|
In 2011, Portman won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and the BAFTA Award for her lead performance as Nina in Black Swan.
Early lifePortman was born June 9, 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Shelley (née Stevens), an American homemaker who works as Portman's agent, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli citizen who is a fertility specialist and gynecologist. Portman's maternal ancestors were Jewish immigrants to the United States, from Austria and Russia (her mother's family had changed their surname from "Edelstein" to "Stevens"). Her paternal ancestors were Jews who moved to Israel from Poland and Romania. Her paternal grandfather, whose parents died at Auschwitz, was an economics professor in Israel, and her Romanian-born great-grandmother was a spy for British Intelligence during World War II.
Portman's parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University, where her mother was selling tickets. They corresponded after her father returned to Israel, and were married when her mother visited a few years later. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved to the United States, where her father received his medical training. Portman, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, has said that although she "really love[s] the States... my heart's in Jerusalem. That's where I feel at home."
Portman and her family first lived in Washington, D.C., but relocated to Connecticut in 1988, and then settled on Long Island, New York, in 1990.
|Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace|
In 2003, Portman graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. degree in psychology. "I don't care if [college] ruins my career," she told the New York Post, according to a Fox News Channel article. "I'd rather be smart than a movie star." At Harvard, Portman was Alan Dershowitz's research assistant in a psychology lab. While attending Harvard, she was a resident of Lowell House and wrote a letter to the Harvard Crimson in response to an essay critical of Israeli actions toward Palestinians.
Portman took graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the spring of 2004. In March 2006, she appeared as a guest lecturer at a Columbia University course in terrorism and counterterrorism, where she spoke about her film V for Vendetta.
Portman has professed an interest in foreign languages since childhood and has studied French, Japanese, German, and Arabic.
As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in scientific journals. Her 1998 high school paper, "A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar," co-authored with scientists Ian Hurley and Jonathan Woodward, was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search, in which she was named a semifinalist. In 2002, she contributed to a study on memory called "Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence" during her psychology studies at Harvard.
Owing to her scientific publications, Portman is among a very small number of professional actors with a finite Erdős–Bacon number, a concept that reflects the "small world phenomenon" in academia and entertainment by measuring the "collaborative distance" between that person and Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős – and the number of links, through roles in films, by which the individual is separated from American actor Kevin Bacon.
Early work and performed in local troupes. At the age of ten, a Revlon agent asked her to become a child model, but she turned down the offer to focus on acting. In a magazine interview, Portman said that she was "different from the other kids. I was more ambitious, I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard. I was a very serious kid."
Portman spent her school holidays attending theater camps. When she was ten, she auditioned for the Off-Broadway show Ruthless!, a musical about a girl who is prepared to commit murder to get the lead in a school play. Portman and future pop star Britney Spears were chosen as the understudies for star Laura Bell Bundy. In 1994, she auditioned for the role of a child who befriends a middle-aged hitman in Luc Besson's film, Léon (aka The Professional). Soon after getting the part, she took her grandmother's maiden name "Portman" as her stage name, in the interest of privacy and to protect her family's identity. Léon opened on November 18, 1994, marking her feature film debut at age 13. That same year she appeared in the short film Developing, which aired on television.
|Where the Heart Is|
|Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones|
In July 2001, Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols; she played the role of Nina alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The play opened at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. That same year, she was one of many celebrities who made cameo appearances in the 2001 comedy Zoolander. Portman was cast in a small role in the film Cold Mountain alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.
In 2004, Portman appeared in the independent movies Garden State and Closer. Garden State was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. Her performance as Alice in Closer earned her a Supporting Actress Golden Globe as well as a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The final Star Wars prequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was released on May 19, 2005. The film was the highest grossing domestic film of the year, and was voted Favorite Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards. Also in 2005, Portman filmed Free Zone and director Miloš Forman's Goya's Ghosts. Forman had not seen any of her work but thought she looked like a Goya painting, so he requested a meeting.
2006–09Portman hosted Saturday Night Live on March 4, 2006. In a SNL Digital Short, she portrays herself as an angry gangsta rapper (with Andy Samberg as her Flavor Flav-esque partner in Viking garb) during a faux-interview with Chris Parnell, saying she cheated at Harvard University while high on marijuana and cocaine. The song, titled "Natalie's Rap," was released – alongside other sketches from the show – in 2009 on Incredibad, an album by the Lonely Island. In another sketch, she portrays a student named Rebecca Hershlag (her actual surname) attending a Bar Mitzvah, and in an installment of the recurring sketch The Needlers (also known as Sally and Dan, The Couple That Should Be Divorced), plays a fertility specialist (her father's profession).
V for Vendetta opened in early 2006. Portman portrayed Evey Hammond, a young woman who is saved from the secret police by the main character, V. Portman worked with a voice coach for the role, learning to speak with an English accent, and she famously had her head shaved.
Portman has commented on V for Vendetta's political relevance and mentioned that her character, who joins an underground anti-government group, is "often bad and does things that you don't like" and that "being from Israel was a reason I wanted to do this because terrorism and violence are such a daily part of my conversations since I was little." She said the film "doesn't make clear good or bad statements. It respects the audience enough to take away their own opinion".
Both Goya's Ghosts and Free Zone received limited releases in 2006. Portman starred in the children's film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which began filming in April 2006 and was released in November 2007; she has said that she was "excited to do a kids' movie." In late 2006, Portman filmed The Other Boleyn Girl, a historical drama in which she plays Anne Boleyn; Eric Bana and Scarlett Johansson co-starred. She was named one of the hottest women of film and TV by Blender Magazine.
In 2006, she filmed Wong Kar-wai's road movie My Blueberry Nights. She won acclaim for her role as gambler Leslie, because "[f]or once she's not playing a waif or a child princess but a mature, full-bodied woman... but she's not coasting on her looks... She uses her appeal to simultaneously flirt with and taunt the gambler across the table." Portman voiced Bart Simpson's girlfriend Darcy in the episode "Little Big Girl" of The Simpsons' 18th season.
She appeared in Paul McCartney's music video "Dance Tonight" from his 2007 album Memory Almost Full, directed by Michel Gondry. Portman co-starred in the Wes Anderson short film Hotel Chevalier, opposite Jason Schwartzman, in which she performed her second nude scene (her first being Goya's Ghosts). In May 2008, Portman served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury, and in 2009, she starred opposite Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in the drama film Brothers, a remake of the 2004 Danish film of the same name.
In 2008, Portman at age 27 made her directorial debut at the Venice Film Festival. "Eve", a short movie about a young woman who is dragged along on her grandmother's romantic date, was screened out of competition. Portman said she had always had a fascination with the older generation, and drew inspiration for the character from her own grandmother.
After Portman's Oscar win, controversy arose over who performed the bulk of the on-screen dancing in Black Swan. Sarah Lane, one of Portman's dancing doubles in the film, claimed that Portman performed only about 5 percent of the full-body shots, adding that she was asked by the film’s producers not to speak publicly about it during the Oscar season. Director Aronofsky defended Portman by issuing a statement insisting that Portman performed 80% of the on-screen dancing in the movie.
Social and political causesPortman, who is an advocate for animal rights, has been a vegetarian since childhood. She became a vegan in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. "All of my shoes are from Target and Stella McCartney," she has said. In 2007, she launched her own brand of vegan footwear.
In 2007, Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to film the documentary Gorillas on the Brink. Later, at a naming ceremony, Portman christened a baby gorilla Gukina, which means "to play." Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood, when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids. She is also a member of the One Voice movement.
Portman has also supported antipoverty activities. In 2004 and 2005, she traveled to Uganda, Guatemala, and Ecuador as the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International, an organization that promotes micro-lending to help finance women-owned businesses in developing countries. In an interview conducted backstage at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia and appearing on the PBS program Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, she discussed microfinance. Host Fareed Zakaria said that he was "generally wary of celebrities with fashionable causes," but included the segment with Portman because "she really knew her stuff."
In the "Voices" segment of the April 29, 2007, episode of the ABC Sunday morning program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Portman discussed her work with FINCA and how it can benefit women and children in Third World countries. In fall 2007, she visited several university campuses, including Harvard, USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, New York University, and Columbia, to inspire students with the power of microfinance and to encourage them to join the Village Banking Campaign to help families and communities lift themselves out of poverty.
In 2010, Portman's activist work and popularity with young people earned her a nomination for VH1's Do Something Awards, which is dedicated to honoring individuals who do good.
Portman is a supporter of the Democratic Party, and in the 2004 presidential race she campaigned for the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry. In the 2008 presidential election, Portman supported Senator Hillary Clinton of New York in the Democratic primaries. She later campaigned for the eventual Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, during the general election. However, in a 2008 interview, she also said: "I even like John McCain. I disagree with his war stance – which is a really big deal – but I think he's a very moral person."
On the concept of the afterlife, Portman has said, "I don't believe in that. I believe this is it, and I believe it's the best way to live." She has said that she feels more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children in the Jewish religion: "A priority for me is definitely that I'd like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner."
|Léon||1994||Mathilda||Also known as The Professional|
|Developing||1994||Nina||23-minute short film|
|Everyone Says I Love You||1996||Laura Dandridge|
|Mars Attacks!||1996||Taffy Dale|
|Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace||1999||Padmé Amidala|
|Anywhere but Here||1999||Ann August|
|Where the Heart Is||2000||Novalee Nation|
|Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||2002||Padmé Amidala|
|Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith||2005||Padmé Amidala|
|Free Zone||2005||Rebecca||received a limited US theatrical release in April 2006|
|V for Vendetta||2006||Evey Hammond|
|Paris, je t'aime||2006||Francine||Ensemble film with 18 segments. She appears in the segment directed by German writer-director Tom Tykwer.|
|Goya's Ghosts||2006||Inés Bilbatúa & Alicia|
|My Blueberry Nights||2007||Leslie|
|The Darjeeling Limited||2007||Jack's Ex-Girlfriend|
|Hotel Chevalier||2007||Jack's Ex-Girlfriend||13-minute short companion piece to The Darjeeling Limited|
|Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium||2007||Molly Mahoney|
|The Other Boleyn Girl||2008||Anne Boleyn|
|The Other Woman||2009||Emilia Greenleaf||Originally titled Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, with limited theatrical release in February 2011|
|New York, I Love You||2009||Rifka|
|Black Swan||2010||Nina Sayers|
|No Strings Attached||2011||Emma Kurtzman|
|Sesame Street||2003–2004||Herself/Natalie||Season 34, Episode: "Oscar Needs a Change of Scenery" |
Season 35, Episode: "Alan's Vacation Replacement"
|Saturday Night Live||2006||Host||Season 31, Episode 13|
|The Armenian Genocide||2006||Aurora Mardiganian (narration)||Documentary film|
|The Simpsons||2007||Darcy||Season 18, Episode: "Little Big Girl" (voice)|
|The Diary of Anne Frank||1997||Anne Frank|
|Award||Award category||Year||Title of work||Result|
|Academy Award||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Academy Award||Best Supporting Actress||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Boston Society of Film Critics Award||Best Actress||2010||Black Swan||Won|
|British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award (BAFTA)||Best Actress in a Leading Role||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||Best Supporting Actress||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Award||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Best Supporting Actress||1996||Beautiful Girls||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Most Promising Actress||1996||Beautiful Girls||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Best Supporting Actress||2009||Brothers||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||2000||Anywhere but Here||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||2005||Closer||Won|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Golden Raspberry Award||1999||Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Supporting Actress||2003||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award|| ||2003||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Female Lead||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Irish Film and Television Award||Best International Actress||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle Award||Actress of the Year||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle Award||Actress of the Year||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Female Performance||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Female Performance||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award|| ||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Award||Best Jaw Dropping Moment||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award||2004||Closer||Won|
|New York Film Critics Online Award||Best Actress||2010||Black Swan||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society Award||Best Supporting Actress||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Actress||2010||Black Swan||Won|
|People's Choice Award||Favorite Look||2005||Nominated|
|San Diego Film Critics Society Award||Best Supporting Actress||2004||Closer||Won|
|Satellite Award||Best Supporting Actress – Drama||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Actress in a Drama||2010||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Performance by a Younger Actor||2000||Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||2003||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||2006||Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||2006||V for Vendetta||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||2010||Brothers||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role||2011||Black Swan||Won|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress||2000||Where the Heart Is||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Drama/Action Adventure||2002||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Won|
|Teen Choice Award|| ||2002||Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Drama||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Drama||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Action/Adventure||2005||Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Liar||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Liplock||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Love Scene||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Drama/Action Adventure||2006||V for Vendetta||Nominated|
|Toronto Film Critics Association Award||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award||Best Supporting Actress||2005||Closer||Nominated|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award||Best Supporting Actress||2005||Garden State||Nominated|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||2011||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award||Best Actress||2010||Black Swan||Nominated|
|Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress||2000||Anywhere but Here||Nominated|
|Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress||2001||Where the Heart Is||Nominated|