Today is June 9th. Although not a seemingly significant day on first glance, it’s actually the birthday of one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses, Natalie Portman. Portman was born 30 years ago today in Jerusalem, Israel under the name Natalie Hershlag.
A graduate of Harvard (where she worked with Alan Dershowitz and was classmates with Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Divya Narendra and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss), and a co-author on various research papers, Natalie Portman is one of the few Hollywood talents that actually have an impressive educational background. In fact, she even skipped the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace so she could study for exams.
From a young age Portman was interested in acting. After nabbing an understudy role in an Off-Broadway production of Ruthless!, she scored her first film role at the young age of 13. Little did she know, but the part would change her life forever.
The film in question is known as Leon: The Professional, a Luc Besson film which starred Jean Reno as a hitman. Natalie played a young girl who Leon takes under his wing and trains to be an assassin. The film earned fantastic reviews and almost every critic was completely taken aback by young Natalie’s performance, commenting on how the young starlet possessed a maturity far beyond her years. For a more current example, think Hailee Steinfeld or Chloe Moretz.
From there Natalie Portman‘s career took off, at first gaining small roles here and there until being cast in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1997. When the film came out in 1999, it launched Portman onto a much larger stage, as did her Golden Globe Nomination that year for her role in Anywhere But Here.
Moving into the 2000s, Portman took a lot of time to concentrate on her studies but still managed to pop up in a whole bunch of films. Of course, she reprised her role in the Star Wars sequels and also gave two fantastic performances in Garden State and Closer, the latter of which earned her an Oscar nomination in 2005 at the age of 24, for Best Supporting Actress. She lost to Cate Blanchett but it was still a tremendous feat and one that gave her career a big boost.
2005 saw Natalie in one of my personal favorites, V For Vendetta and in 2008 she was the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury. That year she also made her directorial debut with the film Eve, which premiered at the Venice film festival.
This year, Natalie Portman returned to the Oscars with a nomination for Best Actress for her role in Black Swan. This time there was no question about the outcome and as predicted by most, Portman took home the little gold man that night.
Of course, everything listed above qualifies as only highlights of what has so far been an illustrious career for the young actress. She’s incredibly talented and unlike most actors/actresses, isn’t afraid to branch out into different genres. She did drama in Black Swan and then only months later was making audiences laugh in No Strings Attached and Your Highness. Portman is a true gem in Hollywood and will undoubtedly see more Oscar gold before her career comes to a close. Personally, she’s my favorite actress by a long shot and from all of us at We Got This Covered, we want to wish Natalie Portman a happy 30th birthday!