She’s being tipped worldwide to take home the golden statuette in the best actress category at the Oscar awards on Sunday for her dark performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan but actor Natalie Portman reveals working on the psychological thriller was the toughest challenge she has ever faced.
“It was the most physically demanding role I’ve done. I began training a year before we started filming and had to continue training all the way through filming too, so after doing fifteen, sixteen-hour days, I was training before and after work. It was very extreme,” says Portman, who plays a ballerina in the outing.
“I loved ballet ever since childhood and was thrilled to be offered this role… I did ballet until I was 13 so I had a base. But I started training for Black Swan when I was 28 and at 28 you are at the height of a ballet career - it’s not an age when you start out,” she adds. Having done pole dancing in Closer, and now extreme ballet for this one, the 29-year-old is giving up forever on the dance style now. “I love dancing. But I’m definitely hanging up the ballet shoes. I think I’ve done enough ballet for my lifetime,” says the actor, who met her partner Benjamin Millepied on the sets of the film and is now expecting her first child.
Asked if there are similarities between the life of an actor and that of a ballerina, she says, “There are definitely similarities but there are also marked differences. I think the dedication and the technique that is required of a ballerina is not required of an actor at all. It’s an art where virtuosity is characterised by hard work and extreme technique." So how did she unwind after the completion of the film? “The day after I wrapped one of my very good friends got married, so that was the first thing I did. Then I was just home trying to regain my life, the things I hadn’t been doing for a year,” she says.
The actress with the most Academy Awards for “Best Actress” is Katharine Hepburn, who won four of the golden statuettes (in 1932, 1967, 1968 & 1981.)
The title for the most “Best Actor” awards, is shared by seven different actors (Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Fredric March, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks) who each won two Oscars.
In the Male Actor category, Jack Nicholson has the most Oscar nominations. He was nominated 12 times, winning thrice, twice for best actor, once for supporting actor.
Meryl Streep holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a performer, with 16 nods (passing Katharine Hepburn, who has 12).