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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 25, 2011

Natalie Portman sure bet as Best Actress in the Oscar Awards

NATALIE PORTMAN will be hard to beat as best actress in the Oscar Awards on Sunday night. As the mentally unstable ballerina in “The Black Swan”, she plays the most demanding role among the nominated actresses, too bad for Annette Bening who’s the sentimental favorite as the lesbian doctor in “The Kids are All Right”. Director Darren Aronofsky previously got a similarly unnerving performance from Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”. But his handling of Portman as the ambitious but self-mutilating ballerina who covets the lead role of the Swan Queen in the classic ballet “Swan Lake” is even more awesome as the film is turned into a psychological thriller with a warped sense of reality. It’s up to the viewer to sort out which scenes are really happening and which ones are mere Portman hallucinations. Martin Scorcese attempted a similar thing in “Shutter Island” but was unsuccessful. Portman gets great support from Barbara Hershey as her overbearing mom, Mila Kunis as the new dancer from San Francisco, Vincent Cassel as the exacting ballet impresario, and Winona Ryder as the aging ballerina who tries to commit suicide after Cassel dumped her. The film is definitely for mature audiences, what with Portman doing masturbation scenes and having a lesbian love scene with Kunis (which looks like it was just imagined.) As a dark portrait of a mind slowly getting unhinged, the ending is ambiguous and open to various interpretations. No doubt Portman is the frontrunner as Oscar best actress as she poured everything into her portrayal of Nina, never going overboard even in the daring scenes she was made to do. She also took intensive ballet training to be credible in the role, and it truly paid off.

For best actor and best supporting actor, Colin Firth as the stuttering king in “The King’s Speech” and Christian Bale as the wasted boxing champ and drug-addicted brother of Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter” are shoo ins. For best supporting actress, our bet is Hailee Steinfield in “True Grit”, but we guess Oscar voters will find this total newcomer too young and give it to Melissa Leo as the stage mom in “The Fighter”. For best pic, Oscar voters who love British royalty might pick “King’s Speech” but we honestly think “Social Network” is the more perfect reflection of our Facebook-addicted times.