Oscar Talk: Black Swan

I looked forward to seeing this movie for a long time–its chilling and appropriately hooking trailer was playing in theaters throughout the early fall. When I was trying to see as many Oscar-buzzed movies over the holidays, Black Swan was the first on my list. Check out the trailer below:

I left the theater both freaked out and impressed. Darren Aronofsky has been nominated for an Academy Award for his directing, and it is completely deserved. What makes Black Swan so horrifying is the unconventional choices he makes such as shooting many of the scenes behind Natalie Portman’s head, bouncing along with her rapid steps. The angles through which he makes his audience see this movie are truly what makes it great–nevermind what everyone is saying about Portman’s performance.

I am a huge fan of Portman. I have been for years because I can tell she chooses her projects very carefully, and this is no exception. She certainly has an eye for scripts. I don’t think, however, that this is her best performance or that she really deserves the Oscar she is by now sure to get. Jennifer Lawrence is far more compelling in Winter’s Bone and Annette Bening understands the subtle and changing nuances of her characters in The Kids Are All Right. The big deal about Portman’s performance is how long she trained to be able to do her own dancing. Her dancing in undeniably beautiful and her acting is good, but I would not go so far as to call it worthy of this year’s Academy Award. Her face is making the same worried, I’m-about-to-cry expression throughout most of the movie.

Mila Kunis is truly underrated in this movie as Lily. I’ve expressed more than once how irritated I was that she did not receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Frankly, Kunis trained for this role just as rigorously as Portman did, and brought depth and realism to her character that lifted the movie up. People should be talking about her performance just as much as they talk about Portman’s.

The more space I’ve had from this movie, the less I like it. When I watch the trailer, I’m reminded of how it enchanted me in the first place, but it’s kind of like Inception in the way that the more you think about it, the less you like it. It’s a beautiful, captivating film. When you watch it, it will have your undivided attention. It deserves its nomination for Best Picture, and Aronofsky should seriously be considered for a win.

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