Natalie Portman is arguably my favourite actress ever. She is beautiful, talented and smart. Many know her for her portrayal of Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars franchise, and although it is always always nice to have such a household name on your resume, someone of Portman’s caliber can certainly do better than just support. It has been a long time since her film debut in Luc Besson’s action thriller Léon: The Professional.

In Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, she revelled under the spotlight, playing a physically demanding role that cemented her amongst the best amongst Hollywood today. Adopting Christian Bale’s habit of fully immersing oneself in the role, the actress reportedly lost 20 lb and spent hours upon hours in rehearsals. Even though some can comment on the body double as Nina Sayers, we can see the determination in both actress and characters’ eyes, seeking recognition and better yet, transcendence.

It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.

Natalie Portman to Entertainment Weekly

Beyond the physical and emotional labour the actress had to go through, Black Swan is the film to give Portman everything she would be grateful for. Her hard work paid off when she won an Oscar for her role, but her best gift would probably be her engagement to choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

Out of the numerous actresses with starry-eyed aspirations to become the next hottest thing in Hollywood, Natalie Portman is always going to be an inspiration, if not a standard to follow.

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