Monday, January 3, 2011

Person of the Week V

     Natalie Portman's Identifiable Prowess

      The beginning of a new year is always marked by two certainties.  These certainties are married together by the pretensions of a congratulatory send off of the past years memorable events and an enthusiastic expectancy for the new year's future endeavors.  In lieu of this congratulatory send off, I will announce as my first "Person of the Week" for 2011, the beautiful and precociously talented Natalie Portman.
      The star of Darren Aronofsky's latest critical feature, Black Swan, Natalie Portman is cementing her place in Hollywood as a bona fide A-lister, deserving of weighty, significant acting roles.  Her portrayal as the compellingly multi-faceted, provocative ballerina, Nina Sayers, is fittingly representative of her vast acting talents.  Oscar buzz has reached a fever pitch surrounding her performance and a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role is safely assured.
      I was acutely aware of Portman's prescience as a viable actress early in her career when at the age of 13; she burst onto the scene as the young friend of the determined hitman, Leone, in the classically revered action film, The Professional.  Though her role in the Star Wars prequel trilogy was marred by a conspicuous restraint and emotional void, Portman still managed to carve out a respectable career with future roles in Garden State and Closer—the latter earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  
      Much like Christian Bale, there is a calculable sophistication to Portman's craft that embodies her with so much screen charisma.  She is as equally capable of exuding quiet elegance as she is at protruding a ruthless Machiavellian bend.  Her taut performance as the dual depiction of the "Black and White Swan" in Black Swan is a resounding testament to her increasingly impressive acting resume. 
      One of the many motivating factors for my growing respect of Natalie Portman is her unquestioned resilience in life's pursuits outside of Hollywood.  Deciding to a take a break from a burgeoning movie career, Portman decided to pursue a bachelors degree in psychology from Harvard.  She is also vigorously championing animal rights, is a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, a noted vegetarian, a fiery advocate of the Village Banking Campaign, the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International and an overall tenacious activist.  With all these myriad causes and responsibilities on her plate, it is astonishing that she can still deliver thought-provoking and intensely passionate performances.  There is no doubt that I am an avid supporter of Natalie Portman's flourishing career.  Let us hope the Academy agrees when they select their winner for Lead Actress.

*In the attached video, Portman discusses her latest film, Black Swan. 

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