Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Did Natalie Portman deserve the Oscar?

By Kim Giordano

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black swan latimes
(Courtesy of the LA Times)

Natalie Portman should feel on top of the world right now. Her Academy Award- nominated movie is came out on DVD yesterday, she just won her first Oscar and she is engaged to her choreographer and pregnant with their first baby. “Black Swan,” arguably Portman’s most critically-acclaimed film to date, has generated quite the controversy this week after her dance double made claims that Natalie did a lot less of her own dancing than originally thought by the public.

Sarah Lane, an American Ballet Theatre soloist that doubled for her harder dance moves, recently objected to Benjamin Millipied’s (Portnman’s fiance) statement that, “85% of that movie [“Black Swan”] is Natalie.” In a recent LA Times article, Lane claimed that only 5% of the movie is Natalie and the rest of the body shots are of her. The double says that she is the victim of a “cover-up” in order to make it seem as though Natalie did most of the dancing and the producers fail to give proper recognition. Lane is also bitter about only being credited in the film as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double” and “Lady in the Lane” and was forbidden to speak out about her work during award season.

When I first read Sarah Lane’s article in the LA Times, I felt extremely disappointed and cheated (as I’m sure many other viewers felt). Recently though, there has been a considerable amount of people speaking out on behalf of Natalie, claiming that the accusations made by Lane are false. The filmmakers and studio immediately issued a statement that supported Natalie, saying she did most of the dancing in the film. Her co-star, Mila Kunis, recently shared her thoughts, “Natalie danced her a– off. I think it’s unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from [the praise] Natalie deserved and got.”

Maybe even most importantly, the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky, has come forward and presented very specific facts concerning the number of shots in the film stating, “There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80% Natalie Portman.”

Fear not “Black Swan” fans, with all of those speaking out on behalf of Natalie, especially now that the director has provided the specifics of the shots and duration, I think it’s safe to say Natalie did do most of her dancing. I’m going to chalk this whole thing up to jealousy. Portman did an exceptional job in this film, physically and emotionally. It is clear that she worked very hard and committed a lot to this role and she deserved all the praise and awards she received. Even if this entire controversy turned out to be true, I would still think Portman deserved the Oscar. The emotional performance she created still outweighed any other nominees this year, and the fact that she did most of her dancing on top of that, is just beyond impressive.

9 Comments

9 Responses to “Did Natalie Portman deserve the Oscar?”

  1. Sarah Marcus on March 30th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Actually the professional ballerina said she did 95% of the full body shot dancing, in other words the difficult moves and any far away shots which would include almost all the turns.

    Of course if you count the shots of Ms. Portman waving her arms from the neck up there are going to be a lot more of those total, which allows the director to say Ms. Portman did most of the “dancing”.

    They are both correct.

  2. box211 on March 30th, 2011 9:40 pm

    Sour Grapes?

  3. Beau on March 30th, 2011 9:55 pm

    What a stupid question. She deserved everything she received, probably more. Leave the stupid rumors to someone else. It degrades you terribly.

  4. John Balgenorth on March 30th, 2011 11:34 pm

    You are going to chalk this whole thing up as jealousy. I am going to chalk it all up as you are either being paid off to promote Black Swan or you are simply taking the easy way to write a story by poor investigation of facts.

    This looks to me like more abuse of Natalie Portman and using her name to promote Darren Aronofksy and Benjamin Millepied. I suspect Darren and Benjamin are involved with FOX Searchlight management and have paid Sarah Lane to make an issue about the dancing. Now
    both Benjamin and Darren have made themselves look like heros supporting Natalie when in reality they are both liars involved in making up the story to promote themselves.

    I have provided evidence Benjamin Millepied has been using an impostor of Natalie Portman for over a year now. I suspect Natalie is NOT PREGNANT and is being forced by Darren and Benjamin to pretend she is pregnant. i do not think she would take Benjamin to the Oscars and other events and pretend she is pregnant without being forced.

    Look at some of the evidence I have provided proving Benjamin is using a impostor of Natalie and contact the Huffington Post for much more. Here is a link to the evidence. Look for more than this one page.

    http://www.generalcuestar.com/page3/page12/page12.html

    Darren Aronofsky has made Benjamin and himself look like heros with this false story which Sarah Lane may have been paid to fabricate. But she does not seem to be the only person they paid.

    I have without a doubt proving Benjamin MIllepied is using a impostor of Natalie. Prove me wrong or do the honorable thing for Natalie Portman and report the truth since it appears she is being gagged due to poor contractual agreements.

  5. Jennifer on March 31st, 2011 12:01 am

    What is wrong with people? Natalie was fantastic in Black Swan and deserved to win the Oscar. However, she DID NOT do most of the dancing! For the love! Chalking this whole thing up to jealousy is disrespectful, silly and truly lazy. Of course the studio/director is going to come to Natalie’s defense. So much was made over the Natalie’s dancing in all of her pre-Oscar interviews and many reporters were impressed (including yourself) that she could master so many dance moves since it’s a significant part of the film. If she/studio just would have said I trained to look like a dancer, but I had a dancing double for most of it no one would care. Dancers have a unique style developed over YEARS of training and MANY have said you can tell its SARAH dancing not Natalie. If you don’t believe them then check out the behind the scenes footage of the technicians superimposing Natalie’s face over Sarah’s! Plain as day! This is incredibly disheartening and as one thoughtful commenter stated today…”Dear Sarah you’re right, but your swimming upstream against powerhouses that have gone out an a limb with a false story.” Sarah is NOT a jealous media monger. She is a dancer that also has praised Natalie for her amazing performance and believes Natalie should get the Oscar. But, as a life long ballerina who did 95 percent of the dancing she would like to be acknowledged. I see NOTHING wrong in doing so.

  6. Shannon Nutt on March 31st, 2011 6:56 am

    Please – this is like asking Tom Hanks to give back his Oscar for Forrest Gump because half his shots included special effects and/or stunt doubles. And you know that wasn’t really Al Pacino driving the Ferrari in Scent of a Woman, right? Why this is a ‘story’, God only knows.

  7. Jennifer on March 31st, 2011 10:34 am

    Sarah Lane did not go in to this expecting to win an Oscar or to be featured in the movie. She did her job which was dancing for Natalie. However, she never expected the studio and Natalie’s fiance to publicly state that Natalie did 85 percent of the dancing AND then be left out of the credits. To Shannon Nutt: Tom Hanks and his team NEVER publicly claimed he did 85% of his stunts (like Natalie’s fiance and Fox studio did) AND the Forrest Gump stunt doubles and technicians were properly acknowledged in the movie credits. Big difference. It’s a story ONLY because Natalie’s people keep falsely and PUBLICLY claiming she did most of the dancing. Fess up folks! No one is trying to take anything away from Natalie. Are we so damn jaded that we can’t give credit where credit is due just because you like Natalie? Come on.

  8. Tessa V. on March 31st, 2011 4:11 pm

    Totally agree with Jennifer!!!

  9. Tony Kondaks on April 20th, 2011 8:10 pm

    The issue is: How many of the DIFFICULT dancing shots were done by Portman AND how many were CAD?

    If as Lane suggests it is 95%, then Portman’s Oscar should be reconsidered. This is NOT the case of a body double doing difficult stunts on behalf of a star; the dancing was integral to both the film AND the consideration of the Oscar. On a TV program about it, they showed how Portman’s face was digitally superimposed over that of Lane’s. THAT is deception and crosses the line. I want to know: of all the “difficult” shots, what percentage were digitally changed where the faces were exchanged?

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