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Oscar Watch: Black Swan’s Portman Talks, Charms Letterman, Leads Long Line of Contenders

Oscar Watch: Black Swan's Portman Talks, Charms Letterman, Leads Long Line of Contenders

Natalie Portman is not only Letterman’s favorite (see below), she’s also sitting atop Peter Hammond’s list of deserving Oscar contenders and setting off alarms at her David Poland interview. Best actress rivals are going to have an increasingly difficult time keeping up with Portman’s buzz, including Secretariat‘s Diane Lane (our interview coming soon) and newcomers to the race, Halle Berry Frankie and Alice (check out two clips at ThePlaylist), and Glee guest-star Gwyneth Paltrow for Country Strong.

Below, Portman talks the long gestation period for her Black Swan character, working with Darren Aronofsky, nudity in film, the lack of female directors and avoiding exploitative female roles:

– Pete Hammond looks at why the best actress race is so fierce this year: “There’s clearly something in the water and some performances which, in another year might have actually won, likely will not even end up with a nomination this time around.” In alphabetical order, he looks at the actresses and their films. Here’s a taste of the top of the list:

ANNETTE BENING in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features) – OSCAR CHANCE: Blooming. It has seemed like it might finally be Bening’s year ever since the picture opened in early July and Focus is determined to campaign heartily for her. Only problem is she must compete with co-star Julianne Moore , also way overdue (see below).

HALLE BERRY in FRANKIE & ALICE (Freestyle Releasing) – OSCAR CHANCE: There are precious few possibilities for anyone of color in this year’s contest and Berry is out working it hard for her indie surprise but she’s already got one gold statuette and this film may just be too small to gain much of a following among her fellow actors this year.

Black Swan dance clip:

– Portman on Letterman:

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