Natalie Portman, Oscar winner? It could happen if early buzz and reviews coming out of the 67th annual Venice Film Festival are to be believed. The raves are for Portman's lead performance in 'Black Swan,' director Darren Aronofsky's ('The Wrestler') latest mindfrack about dueling ballerinas (Portman and Mila Kunis).
According to Deadline, the film received a standing ovation after an opening night screening at the fest, and the Times of London called Portman's performance "astounding" and gushes that "awards are sure to follow." http://nataliaportman.blogspot.com/
In her review of 'Black Swan' for IndieWire, Anne Thompson writes: "Aronofsky pulls the best performance ever out of Natalie Portman as a tightly wound ballet dancer with no life who is so obsessed with moving up in the ballet corps that she splits her toenails from practicing, is painfully thin and scratches herself bloody with stress." She later wonders: "Is she Oscar bait?"
Todd McCarrthy writes in his IndieWire review: "With Natalie Portman, in the demanding leading role, equaling her director in unquestioned commitment, the central issue for the viewer is how far one is willing to follow the film down the road to oblivion for art's sake."
We could argue that Portman has been chasing an Oscar for years with roles like the vulnerable exotic dancer Alice in 'Closer,' which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination in 2004, or Zach Braff's unstable pixie dream girl in 'Garden State.' Judging by the early reviews and the intense trailer, Portman's perfectionist ballerina in 'Black Swan' is her most uncompromising and complicated role to date. Has her time finally come?