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Category: Natalie Portman

Oscars: Natalie Portman wins for lead actress

Natalie Natalie Portman won the Oscar for lead actress for her performance in “Black Swan” at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. It was the first Oscar win for the 29-year-old mother-to-be who played a prima ballerina descending into madness. Portman was considered the favorite to win the Academy Award, having already won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA award, the British equivalent of the Academy Award.

Portman was competing against Annette Bening for “The Kids Are All Right,” Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone” and Michelle Williams for “Blue Valentine.”

The Academy Awards are taking place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and are being televised live on ABC. We'll carry all the breaking news and reaction here on Awards Tracker.

-- Susan King

Photo: Natalie Portman accepts her Oscar from Jeff Bridges. Credit: Getty Images.

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Around the awards track: Anne Hathaway won't be mean like Ricky Gervais | More experts' Oscar predictions (like it or not)

Anne hathaway oscars predictions• Don't expect Anne Hathaway or James Franco to pull a Ricky Gervais while hosting the Oscars. Hathaway says, "I can guarantee that if you're looking for someone to call people out, we're not your hosts. I think that humor is really difficult to pull off, and I'm not particularly adept at it. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. Also, I don’t mean to sound overly serious, but I am the youngest host in history and I have no business being cynical or calling anyone out. I certainly haven’t earned the right to do that." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

• "Inception" leads with the most nominations (nine) at the Saturn Awards, which are bestowed to the best of sci-fi and fantasy fare. AMC network's "The Walking Dead" leads TV contenders with six bids. VARIETY

Sasha Stone says, "I don't think it's a shoo-in for Natalie Portman. She's certainly the front-runner, but I think Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" could have a good chance and if there is an upset, that's the category it could be in." AWARDS DAILY

Kris Tapley gives his take on the races for best picture (part one and part two) and best actor. IN CONTENTION

Steve Pond says, "'The King's Speech' will win six Academy Awards on Sunday, double the number for the runner-up, 'Inception.' 'The Social Network,' 'The Fighter' and 'Toy Story 3' will each take home a pair, with the rest of the statuettes divided up between several other films." THE ODDS, THE WRAP

• "The King's Speech" gets 2 to 5 odds to win best picture based upon the predictions of nearly 30 experts. "The Social Network" gets 4 to 1 odds. GOLD DERBY

Oscar question top half

Kenneth Turan bemoans all of the Oscar crystal-balling that goes on, including here at Awards Tracker: "The problem with all this Oscar predicting is not that the pundits are often wrong but, frankly, that they are often right. For the truth about the Oscars is that they are, to a large extent, predictable.... That's how I feel about the never-ending parade of pre-event Oscar dissection. I know that genie is never, ever going back into the bottle, but part of me, the part that remembers being young, innocent and full of eager anticipation back in Brooklyn, wishes that it could." LOS ANGELES TIMES

• When asked for her view of Melissa Leo's self-promotional Oscar ads, Kathy Griffin replied, "I think it's brilliant. The only thing I would have changed is the robe. She should have done a completely nude campaign. Now I really hope she wins." MOVIELINE

• Many experts believe that the inclusion of palaces, royalty and posh British accents boosts chance of "King's Speech" winning Oscars. REUTERS

• However, David Germain notes that no film about the British monarchy has ever won best picture. ASSOCIATED PRESS

-- Tom O'Neil


Experts' Oscar predictions in all 24 categories

Below are the complete, updated Oscar predictions of six of our Buzzmeter pundits: Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) and me. Please give us your Academy Award predictions at The Envelope's Oscar ballot.

-- Tom O'Neil

Oscars crystal ball 3

BEST PICTURE
"Black Swan"
"The Fighter"
"Inception"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King's Speech" -- Karger, O'Neil, Thompson
"127 Hours"
"The Social Network" -- Stone, Travers, Wells
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit"
"Winter's Bone"

DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
David Fincher, "The Social Network" -- Karger, O'Neil, Stone, Thompson, Travers, Wells
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit"

LEAD ACTOR
Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech" -- Karger, O'Neil, Stone, Thompson, Travers, Wells
James Franco, "127 Hours"

LEAD ACTRESS
Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right" -- Thompson, Travers
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan" -- Karger, O'Neil, Stone, Wells
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, "The Fighter" --  Karger, O'Neil, Thompson, Travers, Wells
John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner, "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech" -- Stone



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Oscars: How Natalie Portman became a real dancer for 'Black Swan'

Black swan 393"She absolutely, convincingly becomes a dancer" in "Black Swan," insists director Darren Aronofsky in this new promo video dramatizing the physical ordeal Natalie Portman endured to slip into toe shoes for the role.

Portman's trainer was former New York City Ballet trouper Mary Helen Bowers, who recalls how Portman prepared for the role's physical challenges by working out "five hours a day, six days a week for months and months and months leading up to the film -– while she was working other jobs."

Portman endured, noting, "I love dancing so much that I decided that it would be so fun to be able to dance at work! That would be part of my job. [Then] I realized how physically grueling it would be."

Displaying such extreme physical commitment to a performance often helps stars to win the Oscar -– as Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby") and Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull") discovered when they overhauled their bodies to become boxers on screen.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: "Black Swan" (Fox Searchlight)


James Franco on 'Your Highness': Action, dirty humor and perverts, what's not to like?

Your Highness 
You’d think a movie starring two of this year’s Oscar nominees would be generating a little more excitement than the buzz currently surrounding the medieval stoner-fantasy-comedy “Your Highness.” But then, James Franco and Natalie Portman worked on director David Gordon Green’s offbeat movie two years and a couple of release dates ago. Universal Pictures will finally put it in theaters April 8.

“I don’t know what the discussions or the politics were, but it seemed hard for the studio to understand it,” Franco says. “It has great action, but then it has really dirty humor. But it’s not ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ kind of humor. It’s not a parody or a spoof of medieval movies. It’s got great British actors and then it’s got me and Danny McBride. It’s a strange mix.”

Franco and McBride, who worked with Green on the hit “Pineapple Express,” play brothers forced to go on a quest to save their father’s kingdom. Portman co-stars as a warrior princess who becomes the object of McBride’s fancy.

With a cast that also includes Zooey Deschanel and a sizable budget (Green, at South by Southwest last year, called it “by far the most expensive movie, by about double” of anything he’s done), the effects-laden “Your Highness” seems oddly off the radar right now. Perhaps that’s understandable, given how Franco describes his favorite moment from the shoot.

“I do a scene with a weird puppet that’s a bit like the witch in ‘The Dark Crystal,'” Franco says, referring to the 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz puppet fantasy. “Only in our movie, she’s a pervert. Come to think of it, I think every character in our movie’s a pervert. Maybe that’s why no one has seen it yet.”

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: James Franco, left, and Danny McBride in "Your Highness." Credit: Universal Pictures


BAFTA Awards: 'The King's Speech' is crowned with seven wins

 Nukings speech
It was no big surprise when the British period drama "The King's Speech" won seven Orange British Academy Film Awards on Sunday evening at the Royal Opera House in London.

The surprise came when Tom Hooper, the film's director and recent recipient of the Directors Guild of America Award, came up empty handed. It was David Fincher who won best director honors for "The Social Network."

Still, it was "The King's Speech's" night. The historical piece about George VI's attempts to rid himself of his stutter before becoming King of England, won outstanding film, outstanding British film, lead actor for Colin Firth (he won the award in this category last year for "A Simple Man"), original screenplay for David Seidler, supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush, supporting actress for Helena Bonham Carter and score for Alexandre Desplat.

"The King's Speech" is also nominated for 12 Academy Awards and is the favorite to take home Oscar's biggest prize.

Besides Fincher's win for best director, "The Social Network," the drama about the founding of Facebook, also won for Aaron Sorkin's adapted screenplay and editing.

"Toy Story 3" earned best animated film honors, and Roger Deakins took home the cinematography prize for "True Grit."

"Inception" won three awards for production design, visual effects and sound, while "Alice in Wonderland" won for costumes and makeup and hair.

Sweden's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" won outstanding film not in the English language and writer-director Chris Norris of "Four Lions" won outstanding British debut by a writer-director or producer.

Outstanding short film went to "Until the River Runs Red," while "The Eagleman Stag" won for animated short.

Tom Hardy of "Inception" won the Rising Star honor and, as previously announced, the "Harry Potter" franchise was given the outstanding British contribution to the cinema honor. Veteran actor Christopher Lee won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Fellowship award, the organization's highest accolade.

— Susan King

Photo: Geoffrey Rush, left, Colin Firth and Derek Jacobi in "The King's Speech." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


BAFTA Awards: Natalie Portman wins the BAFTA Award for best actress

Natalie-portman-black-swan
At the Orange British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, Natalie Portman won best actress for her performance as a delusional ballerina in the psychological thriller "Black Swan."

Portman is also the front-runner for the Oscar. The top British film awards and the Oscars have been aligning fairly closely in recent years.

She was in competition with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, who costarred in "The Kids Are All Right," Noomi Rapace for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and Hailee Steinfeld for "True Grit."

The awards, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, were handed out in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

-- Susan King

Photo: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan." Credit: Reuters


Poll: Can Annette Bening pull off an Oscar upset?

Kids are all right 1

Last night I was flabbergasted when an Academy member told me who he's picking for lead actress: Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"). He's not just any voter. He's a member of the producers' branch who almost always goes with the winner. He has backed all of the underdogs who ended up winning in recent years -– "Crash," Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton -– so, at this point, I've learned to take his ballot very seriously when he tattles ahead of time. But, come on! Could he possibly be right again when most pundits say Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") will prevail?

Well, not all pundits are picking Portman. Some savvy naysayers include Peter Travers (Rolling Stone). And Bening does have some big advantages. She plays gay, which helped Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia") to win in the past. She's overdue (three past losses) and she's the ultimate industry insider -– she's a member of the Academy's Board of Governors.

Furthermore, Bening has been campaigning vigorously in the home stretch. Read our Awards Tracker report detailing her stops along the derby track.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what else this Oscar voter is checking off on his ballot, here goes: "The King's Speech" (best picture), David Fincher (director), Colin Firth (lead actor), Christian Bale (supporting actor), Melissa Leo (supporting actress).

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Focus Features


Annette Bening fires up her Oscar campaign

Kids are all right 14

Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") may have more pundits predicting she'll win the Oscar, but Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") is hitting the campaign trail hard in this home stretch while hoping to make a late surge.

She recently introduced "The Kids Are All Right" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and was honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. She's made the TV rounds: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (Jan. 25), "Live with Regis and Kelly" and "Nightlight" (last Friday), "Charlie Rose" (Monday), "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (Wednesday night) and "Nightline" (Thursday night).

Meanwhile, Bening is being honored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation Women's Cancer Fund at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday night. She's receiving the Nat King Cole Award for charitable work at the event, which is hosted by Conan O'Brien.

She hasn't made herself widely available to Oscar bloggers and journalists, but she did do interviews with the Envelope and Deadline Hollywood for the print issues mailed to academy members. And she did participate in Q&As held by the Envelope, Variety, Screen Actors Guild and the Women in Film organization.

Bening has a few strong pluses in her favor: She's a member of the Academy's board of governors and in "The Kids Are All Right," she portrays a lesbian. Playing gay helped Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia") to win Oscars.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" Credit: Focus Features


'Black Swan' leads nominations for Gold Derby Film Awards

"Black Swan" has soared off with the most nominations (12) for the Gold Derby Film Awards, which are decided by The Envelope's forum posters. "The Social Network" and "Inception" are tied for second place with 10 each. Oscar front-runner "The King's Speech" earned six bids. Winners will be announced Feb. 19. You can cast your vote here after registering in our forums, which you'll find on the link.

Black swan 393The awards were launched in 2002 by our posters, who chose "Chicago" as best picture but veered from Oscar preferences in the races for best director (picking Peter Jackson for "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" over Roman Polanski for "The Pianist"), lead actress (Julianne Moore for "Far From Heaven" instead of Nicole Kidman in "The Hours") and supporting actress (Meryl Streep in "Adaptation" instead of Catherine Zeta-Jones in "Chicago"). In 2004, voters opted for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" as best picture over Oscar choice "Million Dollar Baby," and in 2008 they preferred "Wall-E" to "Slumdog Millionaire." Click here for a list of winners in other years.

Below is a partial list of this year's nominees. See more in our forums.

2010 Gold Derby Film Awards nominees

Motion picture
"Black Swan" (Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver)
"Inception" (Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas)
"The Kids Are All Right" (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray)
"The Social Network" (Dana Brunetti, Cean Chaffin, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin)
"Toy Story 3" (Darla Anderson)

Director
"Black Swan" (Darren Aronofsky)
"The Ghost Writer" (Roman Polanski)
"Inception" (Christopher Nolan)
"127 Hours" (Danny Boyle)
"The Social Network" (David Fincher)

Lead actor
Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels in "Shutter Island"
Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network"
Colin Firth as King George VI in "The King's Speech"
James Franco as Aron Ralston in "127 Hours"
Ryan Gosling as Dean in "Blue Valentine"

Lead actress
Annette Bening as Nic in "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman as Becca in "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly in "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers in "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams as Cindy in "Blue Valentine"

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