In "Black Swan," Portman plays a ballerina whose sanity seems to be crumbling as she pursues the role of a lifetime. For a year before the film was shot, Portman had to train for 5-8 hours a day to prepare, and lost 20 pounds. The performance has generated a lot of Oscar buzz for the actress.
Portman is an advocate of anti-poverty programs and an Ambassador of Hope for Finca International, an organization that promotes micro-finance lending to female-owned businesses in developing countries. In 2004 and 2005, Portman visited Uganda, Guatemala and Ecuador.
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Natalie Portman is the newest spokeswoman for Miss Dior perfume. The "Black Swan" actress, who recently announced that she is pregnant and engaged to Benjamin Millepied, appears topless in the ad.
Actress Natalie Portman co-stars with Stephen Frey, left, John Hurt, second from right, and Stephen Rae, right, in the film "V for Vendetta" in 2006.
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Portman said the most stressful part of shaving her head for the role was doing it on camera. "We only had one chance to do it," she said.
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In 2005, Portman was nominated for an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her work in "Closer."
Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for best supporting actress in 2005 for her role in "The Aviator," but Portman took home the Golden Globe for "Closer."
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Portman starred in the 2004 hit "Garden State" with Zach Braff. That same year, Portman moved to Jerusalem for six months to study Hebrew, Arabic, Islamic history and anthropology at Hebrew University.
In 2002, Portman graduated from Harvard University with a degree in psychology.
Portman -- pictured at the 2002 premiere of "Austin Powers in Goldmember" -- lived in Israel until she was 3, when her family moved to Maryland.
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In "Goya's Ghost," Portman played the muse of painter Francisco Goya. The film was released in 2006.
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