Celebrity News

Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Natalie Portman

The lovely Natalie Portman is nominated for Best Actress for her stunning performance in "Black Swan" -- but did you know that she turned down the role in "The Horse Whisperer"? Find out more about this compelling actress!

Fun Facts about Natalie Portman

The Israeli Roots

Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel, as the only child of a Israeli father, a fertility doctor, and an American artist mother.

The World Patrol Kids

Natalie was a member of the environmental song and dance troupe called The World Patrol Kids — under her real name, Natalie Hershlag.

'The Professional'

Natalie was discovered in a pizza parlor and was originally turned down for the role of Mathilda in 1994's "The Professional" because she was too young.

The 'Star Wars' Days

Natalie had to miss the premiere of the 1999 "Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace," so she could study for her high school final exams.

The Britney Spears Connection

As a young girl, she was an understudy for the lead character in the off-Broadway show, "Ruthless," alongside Britney Spears. They still keep in touch.

'The Horse Whisperer'

She turned down a role in 1998's "The Horse Whisperer" to act in "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Broadway. The role went to newcomer Scarlett Johansson.

The Vegan

Natalie was originally a vegetarian but became a vegan in 2009.

The Close Friends

She is close friends with Jake Gyllenhaal, Mila Kunis and Bryce Dallas Howard.

The Dancer

The actress has taken dance lessons since the age of 4, which helped tremendously in preparing for her role in "Black Swan."

The Linguist

Portman can speak Hebrew and English (her native languages) fluently. She also knows some conversational French, German, and Japanese and Spanish.

'The Ice Storm'

Natalie turned down the role of Wendy in the 1997 "The Ice Storm" because she felt the material was "too dark." The role went to Christina Ricci, who has said she often gets the projects Natalie turns down.

The Harvard College Graduate

Portman received her Harvard degree in June of 2003. She once said, I'm going to college. I don't care if it ruined my career. I'd rather be smart than a movie star."

The Shaved Head

Several months after shaving her head for her part in "V for Vendetta," she was traveling through Ireland and stopped for directions at a bed and breakfast. The owners refused to allow her even onto their porch. They did, however, give her directions

The Nude Scene

Portman hesitantly shot an explicit nude scene for the 2004 "Closer," in the scene where her character Alice strips for Larry (Clive Owen). Ultimately, Portman and director Mike Nichols agreed not to use it, as the scene was effective enough without it.

The Muse

Fashion designer Zac Posen refers to Portman as his "muse."