Why is the media so up in arms over whether or not Natalie Portman really danced the pas de whatever all by herself or whether her stunt/dance double did it? At the risk of adding more ink to this (who am I kidding? I AM adding more ink to this) I would like to say that I think it’s just a bit ridiculous. For those of you who have missed the brouhaha, Portman won her Oscar for Black Swan and everyone went on and on about her “miraculous transformation” and the astonishing amount of hard work that went into making her a top flight-ish ballerina. In a year, no less.
Now I didn’t even like that movie very much. Nor do I care one way or another about Natalie Portman. As a matter of fact, I thought Annette Bening should have won the Oscar, but that’s beside the point.
So evidently NatPo wins the Oscar and everyone thinks she’s the swellest thing around with her baby due and her hunky BF who also happened to choreograph the movie. It’s all very win-win you see. Only now it seems another very fierce little dancer is crying foul. One Sarah Lane was not thanked when Natalie won her statuette, and according to reports she says the film’s producers told her not to do any interviews until after the Oscars. This I believe wholeheartedly. The gal would like a little recognition. We’re also told Black Swan’s director said Portman did about 75% of the film’s dancing, while Sarah Lane claims Portman actually did about 5% of it. My guess is that Portman’s share was probably less than a double-digit percentage. It’s a nasty situation and it’s only getting worse as more tabloids take the story and run with it. What do you think? It’s very common for actors to have people singing for them, and obviously action movies are handled by professional stuntmen. Somehow this is different. And I think we have a certain Academy to thank for that.
P. to the S.: isn’t the whole point of acting being someone that you’re not? Hmm.
Portman finally agreed to address the issue, and in so doing has said that she doesn’t want to “give in to the gossip” which of course tells us exactly what she feels this sitch amounts to. Everyone knows when you don’t want people to think something’s legit, you call it “gossip” and – pow!- you have the power of ridicule at your fingertips. That and, well, Nat’s got a new movie to shill. Meanwhile this Sarah Lane (who’s a hugely successful, if colossally bummed-out, ballerina) says what angers her most is the assumption that you can become phenomenally talented “in just a year”, when girls like she spent decades becoming superstars. Seems fair. If I was a principal dancer somewhere and I’d spent twenty years perfecting something I too might be peeved if someone else came in and made it look like they’d mastered it in 12 months. On the other hand, let’s remember that Natalie didn’t win the Oscar for her dancing. She won because she was pregnant and a crowd fave and turned in a spectacular performance. And to Miss Lane’s claim about how much time it takes to be really, really good – I totally get your point, but consider this: people get rewarded all the time for doing things that they’re just naturally good at/fortune favors them. Anna Paquin won an Oscar when she was 11 years old. Had she been studying drama for ten years? Maybe, but I doubt it. Professional athletes win all sorts of trophies when they are new to a game – is that fair? Well, in terms of life, yes – it has to be. My point is simply that I don’t believe for a minute that this Sarah Lane really feels that strongly on principle about NP misleading folks into thinking she could be a pro in a year when others struggle for centuries. Because you know what? I bet no one thought the movie was going to be as big a deal as it was and then everyone wanted their just deserts later. Plus, when the real dancer says that the producers coached her not to give interviews, that’s not Natalie Portman’s fault. That’s the publicity machine and they get paid a lot of money to make sure movies win awards. They can be tough as nails and not nice or fun at all, so it doesn’t surprise me that they were hellbent to keep a dancer’s mouth shut. It’s their job. It’s lousy for the muzzled one, to be sure, and I feel sorry for her, but I don’t think her claims are going anywhere. And that’s not necessarily just life, actually. That’s just Hollywood.
Although I bet Annette Bening could do a mean plié if she had to.
1) V Is For Vendetta
2) Garden State
3) Star Wars
4) The Other Boleyn Girl