Is Natalie Portman Oscar Worthy?

The always stellar Natalie Portman has been nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for her role as tortured ballerina Nina in 2010’s Black Swan.

On the heels of her engagement and the announcement of her pregnancy, Natalie Portman received the Desert Palm Achievement Actress award on Saturday night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 22nd annual awards gala. This event is a practice run for the Oscars, and the first trial run for awards season, and already Natalie Portman is feeling the rush of receiving accolades for her work. Yet this isn’t the first time she has been nominated or won an award. In 2004 she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Closer, and she won a Golden Globe for the role that year. Impressively, her awards CV reads like a bevy of nominations and awards at an achievement festival.

Closer (2004) – Natalie Portman as Alice Ayres, an exotic dancer from New York who has come to London to have a bad relationship, a role which garnered Portman an Oscar nom.

The Professional (1994) – Natalie Portman as Mathilda is an assassin in training.

The first time Natalie Portman appeared on my radar she was an odd girl in 1994’s The Professional with Jean Reno. It was her film debut, but even then we were given a glimpse of the powerfully affecting actress she would become. I recognized her immediately when she portrayed the role of Al Pacino’s troubled and suicidal teenage stepdaughter in 1995’s Heat. Even then, I knew I was seeing an actress that was on the threshold of a stellar career. It was evident that she was definitely one to watch, and acting in critically acclaimed films would become second nature.

Heat (1995) – Natalie Portman portrays Al Pacino’s deeply troubled stepdaughter in this riveting crime drama .

Natalie Portman

Black Swan (2010) – Natalie Portman is no stranger to harrowing roles.

Natalie Portman

Black Swan (2010) – For the role of Nina, Natalie Portman literally became a ballerina.

Her career is varied and wide ranging, and has a proven and prolonged existence. At times it seems she prefers unconventional roles, choosing parts that are often challenging, characteristically wringing painful emotional depth from the performance, and never shying away from portraying the uncomfortable and often disturbing aspects of human nature. She is no stranger to going to extreme lengths for the sake of her craft.

V for Vendetta (2006) – Natalie Portman goes to great lengths to become Evey, even shearing her hair for the sake of her role.

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) – Natalie Portman is simply mesmerizing as the ill fated queen Anne Boleyn.

Some of her most memorable roles include V for Vendetta, Goya’s Ghosts, Cold Mountain, Brothers, Closer, The Other Boleyn Girl, and of course, the role she was best known for before Black Swan, Padmé in the Star Wars prequels. It was this role as Queen Amidala that put Portman on the map. Now her name is once again a buzz word as praise for Black Swan comes pouring in. And even though she has enjoyed success, pop culture hasn’t become saturated with her image and presence like those of other young starlets. Portman somehow manages to retain the refreshing presence of a budding ingénue, while at the same time projecting the confidence and the talent of a veteran. It’s hard to believe her career has already spanned 17 years.

Natalie Portman

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) – For her role as Queen Amidala in the historic space saga, Natalie Portman became “famous”.

Natalie Portman

Your Highness (2011) – We’ll be seeing a lot of Natalie Portman in 2011.

When this frontrunner for the Globe announced that she was going to university, there was a public hue and cry that Tinseltown may lose one of its stars to academia. But who could turn down Harvard? Luckily for us, she managed to gain a psychology degree, but still turns out roles enjoyed by fans. In 2011, Portman stands poised to rise to super stardom, and her dance card is full with roles in No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and directed by iconic director Ivan Reitman, the surprisingly controversial comic book movie Thor, Your Highness, and Cloud Atlas. But will it be Black Swan that finally cements her status as a top billing actress? Undoubtedly, her portrayal of Nina is Portman’s most stellar performance yet, and she is undeniably at the height of her craft. However, as she embarks on a new chapter in her life, motherhood, will we be seeing less of her in the years to come right as she is on the cusp of super stardom? It’s a possibility seeing as she has never claimed she wanted to be a movie star.

Natalie Portman

Black Swan (2010) – Is Natalie Portman Oscar worthy?

If we think along Oscar lines as to whether or not she is currently the best working actress today, I would have to say that she ranks right up there with past Oscar winners. Amazing actresses like Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, and Julia Roberts (complete list here) are all Hollywood heavyweights when it comes to acting and being Best Actress winners. Natalie Portman’s star has been on the rise and this year she is set to really command the stage. I don’t feel like I’ve seen everything she has to offer yet, but if her performance in Black Swan is any indication as to what we have to look forward to in the coming years, I say one day she will be one of the best actresses in the game. Is Natalie Portman Oscar worthy? Will she walk away with the coveted golden statue? Only time will tell — seven week’s time to be exact.

The 68th Golden Globes air live nationwide this Sunday, January 16, 2011 on NBC, from 5:00-8:00 (PST)/8:00-11:00 (EST). The Oscars roll out the red carpet February 27, 2011.