Natalie Portman

The Oscar winner takes on Jackie O

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BY: Howard Karren

At the age of 35—she was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1981—Natalie Portman has already lived the life of a prima ballerina, a scholar, an activist, a filmmaker, a wife and mother and an Oscar-winning movie star. It seems like too much for an ordinary person and even a lot for the superwoman she is, but Portman does it with extraordinary grace. There is something exceptional about her: she’s a natural for being princess and queen (i.e., Padmé Amidala in Star Wars Episodes I–III), and this holiday and award season she transforms herself into America’s mistress of Camelot, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, enduring the nightmare of JFK’s assassination in Pablo Larraín’s Jackie. She’s already received a Gotham award nomination for the role, and more accolades are sure to come (watch the movie’s trailer, above).

Portman’s career started early, when, at 12, she got the role of Mathilde, an orphan taken in by a hitman (Jean Reno) in Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional (1994). Beautiful Girls (1996), in which she flirted at 14 with a grown man-child (Timothy Hutton), pushed her further, and a year later came Star Wars: Episode I. Then she was off to Harvard to get a degree in psychology, and following that, her career turned marvelously adult, with Garden State and Closer and V for Vendetta. In 2010 she pirouetted with Oscar as a deranged ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. There she met her husband, ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied, who was choreographing the movie. They have a son, Aleph, and recently announced that they are expecting their second child. To cap it all off, Portman made her directorial debut with A Tale of Love and Darkness, a feature released in August about the early days of the State of Israel (in Hebrew), which she also wrote (adapting Amos Oz’s memoir) and starred in. Sprinkle in a few Thor movies and you get the idea: there’s no predicting what Natalie Portman will accomplish in her next 35 years.
A Tale of Love and Darkness (2016) trailer:

 

Black Swan (2010) trailer:

 

Natalie Portman, pregnant, accepts the 2010 Academy Award for Best Actress in Black Swan:

 

Closer (2004) trailer:

 

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker and Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002):