by Yilin Liang
Graphic by Nathan Toung
With a Golden Globe already under her belt for her role as Nina in Black Swan, Natalie Portman is my choice for the winner of the Oscar for Best Actress. In preparation for her role in Black Swan, Portman spent months learning ballet and her dedication shows in her role, which is arguably the best of her career. When her character succumbs to insanity, her depiction is so life-like that it drags the viewer with her through psychological struggles. Portman transitions from the epitome of innocence to psychological darkness so flawlessly that the audience hardly knows what to make of it.
In The Kids Are All Right, Annette Bening does a wonderful job in playing a quirky, modern parent and it must be noted that she plays the role without making it look dull. However, while her performance is realistic and well-done, it is certainly nothing out of the ordinary. In Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman depicts emotions of grief realistically. However, at times she is slightly melodramatic. Portman, however, seems to be aware of the fine line between melodramatic and dramatic acting.
In Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams portrays her misery well, but it is not completely realistic. She makes it difficult for audiences to feel sympathetic towards her. Portman, as a crazy ballerina, plays a much less common role, but still manages to evoke sympathy from the audience. Her depiction of the struggles she goes through helps audiences to relate to her.
At first glance, it is obvious that Jennifer Lawrence is talented. In Winter’s Bone, the most vivid emotion she can evoke from the audience is that of concern for her predicament. Portman, on the other hand, can both draw the audience in as well as cause them to shy away from her character at the same time. However, that is not to say that we should dismiss Lawrence entirely. She is talented and with more experience, she can expect an Oscar in the near future.