Following her upbeat role in Garden State, Portman plays a stripper in the drama Closer, costarring heavy-hitters Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Law. "I keep hearing that I'm shedding my goody-two-shoes image, but I disagree," Portman says to PEOPLE. The edgy turn scores with critics, and Portman wins a best supporting actress Golden Globe and an Oscar nod.
Portman sheds more than her vanity in the thriller V for Vendetta: She has her head shaved on camera for her freedom-fighter role. "I can't stop rubbing my head," the actress tells Time about her bald hairdo. "It's so soft, I might keep it for a while."
On the set of her film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Portman meets a 5-year-old child diagnosed with Bloom syndrome – a genetic disorder that can cause disabilities and has a high risk of cancer. Portman arranges a fashion auction benefiting research for a cure. Portman has also devoted time to Pediatric AIDS and the Foundation for International Community Assistance, which provides small-business loans to women in developing countries.
Portman wraps five films in less than two years: Francisco Goya's biopic Goya's Ghosts; the period drama The Other Boleyn Girl with Scarlett Johansson; the children's fantasy Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium with Dustin Hoffman; the Wes Anderson-written The Darjeeling Limited with Owen Wilson; and My Blueberry Nights with Jude Law.
Promoting their period drama, The Other Boleyn Girl – where they play ambitious sisters – Portman and Johansson appear on the cover of W. In the magazine, the costars discuss the public's perception of them: Portman tells Johansson, "I get branded a lot as a good girl. I'm, like, the prude, and you're more sexy, more like..." Johansson then laughingly replies, "A harlot!" Portman, meanwhile, says she often gets branded as "boring."
Portman shows her affection for folk singer Devendra Banhart – even kissing him while strolling in New York's West Village. Although the usually private star doesn't comment on her relationship with Banhart, she does take her new beau with her to the Cannes Film Festival in May. In September, the couple calls it quits
In the family drama Brothers, Portman is at the center of a stormy love triangle between two brothers, played by Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. "Portman has rarely been more movingly subdued," says Variety of the former child star's performance as a young mother of two.
Portman steps out with choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who worked with her on Black Swan. "I was blown away – especially by Natalie, who was amazing to watch," Millepied tells Details magazine. In December, the couple announces that they're engaged and expecting their first child.
Portman earns a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her gritty portrayal of a ballerina on the brink in Black Swan, which required the actress to undertake extensive ballet training. "Working five to eight hours a day for a year…it's what real dancers live through," she tells PEOPLE. "It was an amazing experience, but definitely a difficult one."
With Benjamin Millepied at her side, Portman embraces her new figure in a Viktor & Rolf gown and takes home her second Golden Globe – this time for best dramatic actress in Black Swan. After thanking her parents in her acceptance speech, the actress gives kudos to her fiancé, who "choreographed the film, and you may remember him as the guy who, when they ask, 'Would you sleep with that girl?' and he's like, 'No.' He's the best actor, it's not true – he totally wants to sleep with me!" Later that month, Portman takes home the SAG Award for outstanding lead actress.
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