Portman’s ‘Black Swan’ Controversy: Much Ado About Nothing?0 Comments

Posted on 05 Apr 2011 at 9:53am

All morning, news sites, blogs, Twitter, and every other form of free communication have been buzzing with this claim that Natalie Portman didn’t really do all the dancing in her Oscar-winning role as Nina Sayers in Black Swan. The deal is that the woman who did all the “complicated” or “extremely difficult” scenes, Sarah Lane of New York’s American Ballet Theater Company, just released her claim that Portman only did “5 percent” of the dancing scenes in the film and furthered that by purporting to be a victim of a “cover-up.” Now, not only has the director of the film, Darren Aronfsky, completely debunked those claims by laying a serious knowledge bomb on us all in an official statement that said Portman did 111 of the 139 dance shots in the film, but I feel the need to ask why the hell Lane thought that any of us would feel sorry for her when she released these “shocking” “facts.” Seriously, why?

Did little miss ballerina think that for some reason even if she was correct in her atrociously bad math skills — that’s right, 111 out of 139 is 80 percent, not five percent — that we’d all suddenly jump to say, “Oh no! Take that Oscar from that lying, cheating Natalie Portman?” Because while there were a few bandwagoners who did, most of us well-balanced folks who saw the movie know that while dance plays a huge part of Portman’s transformation and a huge part of the story, many of Portman’s strongest scenes — and those that likely tipped the scales for Academy voters — were not even set in a dance studio or on the stage. And many of those that were used Lane’s dancing and through computer generated magic placed Natalie’s face over the body double’s. She was well aware that she would provide physical and visual support for Natalie’s performance when she signed up for the film. It’s part of the deal when signing up as someone’s BODY DOUBLE.

Furthermore, I admit, Lane dances beautifully. That is why I was hired for the film. I’m not denying that, but guess what? Not give the Oscar for Best Dance Performance of the Year. They give the Best Actress and any way you slice it – even before Aronofksy Portman got to defend with the most compact of the arguments (basic MATH) – really should not matter. Portman is the one who takes mental breakdown and dissolution of Nina. Do not see Lane Portman standing in for when drunkenly screaming to her mother in their apartment, or where it stands in the hall hangnail ladies. The acting is the heart of the film, the dance is the foundation. The film promotes the illusion that Portman do all dance because it is necessary to bring history to life. Do not see the children who did the digital work in the face of Portman crying about a conspiracy, as were those who made them happen, but nobody talks about them. Movies are all about illusion; This is the beauty of the art form. Why in the world like this should matter, when only months before we celebrate the creation of something that is actually a great example of the art of illusion is beyond me. That seems to be nothing more than a woman who is upset that not getting enough attention.

Dear Sarah Lane, you’re a great dancer and you’re lucky enough to get PAID to do it. Stop whining and get back to your amazing job that millions of girls all over the world would kill for.

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