Sweetest Gun Moll
The Professional (1994)
Making her movie debut in French filmmaker Luc Besson’s action flick about a young girl protected by a Mob hitman, then-12-year-old Portman drew a rave from Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum: ”I couldn’t take my eyes off her.”
Next time you catch Michael Mann’s oft-played crime-heist on cable, keep an eye out for Portman as Lauren, the suicidal young daughter of Al Pacino’s LAPD detective.
Cutest Long Island Lolita
Beautiful Girls (1996)
Although Portman passed up a chance to play the title character in Adrian Lyne’s Lolita remake (the source material gave her the willies), the actress — who was discovered by a modeling agent in a Long Island shopping mall — didn’t flinch at playing Timothy Hutton’s flirtatious 13-year-old neighbor in Beautiful Girls.
Best Song-and-Dance Routine
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
Portman might not have been old enough to get a driver’s license, but she held her own alongside an all-star cast that included Goldie Hawn (pictured), Julia Roberts, and Drew Barrymore, in Woody Allen’s movie musical.
Best Earthly Heroine
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Portman’s character, Taffy Dale, the rebellious daughter of Jack Nicholson’s ill-fated President and Glenn Close’s tightly wound First Lady, was one of the few humans left standing at the end of Tim Burton’s insanely amusing black comedy.
Best Intergalactic Heroine
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999)
Decked out in face paint and over-the-top kabuki gear, Portman became an instant pinup girl for the sci-fi set, playing Queen Amidala in the fifth highest-grossing film of all time.
Least-Successful Award Bait
Anywhere but Here (1999)
The film adaptation of Mona Simpson’s 1986 best-seller about a responsible teenager and her flighty mom seemed to have a pedigree tailor-made for Golden Globes and Oscar voters. But less-than-enthusiastic reviews kept Portman and costar Susan Sarandon out of the statuette sweepstakes.
Where the Heart Is (2000)
The stares Portman got while walking around an Austin, Texas, Wal-Mart saddled with a pregnancy pad helped her get in touch with the plight of her character, unwed teen mother Novalee Nation, in the film of Billie Letts’ Oprah-anointed novel.
Mistress of Multitasking
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002)
Portman reprised her role as Padmé Amidala in George Lucas’ second Star Wars prequel, with her character juggling duties as Senator and paramour to Hayden Christensen’s Anakin.
Toughest Gun Moll
Cold Mountain (2003)
Portman’s screen time was limited but memorable in Anthony Minghella’s Civil War epic. Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman described her scene with Jude Law — in which she plays a young mother firing away at menacing Union soldiers — as the film’s ”most wrenching episode.”
Best Excuse for Cutting Class
Garden State (2004)
Portman went MIA for three weeks during her senior year at Harvard in order to play director Zach Braff’s adorable, tap-dancing love interest in this quirky comedy. Maybe she smoothed her professors’ ruffled feathers with tickets to the premiere?
Most Impressive Pole Vault
Portman’s turn as tough-but-tender pole dancer Alice landed the actress an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and a Golden Globe win in the same category.
Best Franchise Player
Star Wars Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)
True, Portman’s final turn as Padmé found her waxing ridiculous on lines like ”Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo…,” but script woes aside, it’s hard to deny the actress’s contributions to one of the biggest franchises in cinematic history.
Most Bald and Beautiful
V for Vendetta (2006)
Portman had the blogosphere buzzing when she shaved her head to play Evey, protégé of the titular terrorist/hero, in this cinematic version of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Biggest Double Trouble
Goya’s Ghosts (2006)
In director Milos Forman’s critically maligned drama about Spanish artist Francisco de Goya (Stellan Skarsgard), Portman tackled two roles: persecuted model Ines and kindly prostitute Alicia.
The Darjeeling Limited and its short-film prologue, Hotel Chevalier (2007)
Natalie Portman’s role as the ex-girlfriend of Jack (Jason Schwartzman) might be small — in Darjeeling, she’s on screen for mere seconds as the camera pans across her sitting oh-so-pretty in a private compartment on the train — but her presence looms large. Without her, would Jack be such a bumbling, neurotic, hilarious mess?
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007)”]
Fun fact: Once upon a time, Drew Barrymore was slated to play Portman’s character Molly Mahoney, the unlikely employee who’s tapped as a successor to an eccentric 243-year-old toymaker. After the critical drubbing this holiday film got, we’re betting Portman wishes she’d never stepped in.
Best Excuse for Losing Her Head
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Portman finally got to headline a period drama, playing ill-fated Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII of England, in the big-screen adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical best-seller.
Best Cause of Sibling Rivalry
Portman’s character comes between the titular relatives — played by Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal — in Jim Sheridan’s melodramatic film, which focuses on a family that is torn apart by the war in Afghanistan.
New York, I Love You (2009)
In one of this anthology’s vignettes, Portman appears as a Hasidic woman who’s just as comfortable conversing in Yiddish as she is chatting in English. That duality echoes the fact that Portman played a role behind the camera as well as in front of it — she also directed a segment featuring dancer Carlos Acosta and Jacinda Barrett.
Most Successful Award Bait
Black Swan (2010)
Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award, — is there any prize Portman’s turn as fragile ballerina Nina Sayers didn’t win? It’s a good thing Sarah Lane, one of the star’s dance doubles, didn’t come out claiming that she had done 95 percent of Portman’s pirouettes until awards season was over.
The Other Woman (2011)
Portman plays Emilia, a woman mourning the death of her infant daughter. To add insult to injury, she’s also been labeled a home-wrecker by both her husband’s ex-wife and her resentful stepson.
No Strings Attached (2011)
As physician-in-training Emma, Portman had plenty of time to play doctor with costar Ashton Kutcher. Their cinematic sexploits include a memorable incident involving 3-D glasses (”Wow, it’s like it’s coming right at me!”).
Fiercest Eye Candy
Your Highness (2011)
Portman’s proud warrior Isabel has little time for the shenanigans of goofy princes Danny McBride and James Franco in this medieval stoner comedy, which also features a memorable scene of the actress wearing an olde-tymey thong.
Most Surprising Collaboration with Kenneth Branagh
The Shakespeare expert directed Portman in this upcoming comic book adaptation ?Thor?, where the actress plays an astrophysicist-slash-love-interest for the titular Norse god-slash-superhero. A far cry from the weightier fare Portman’s best known for — somehow, though, we’re sure she’ll manage to pull it off.