This Week's Cover: The Oscar Race is On!

1136-portman-franco-covers_510.jpg Natalie Portman took her fans by surprise this week with a big announcement: She’s pregnant and engaged to marry her Black Swan choreographer, Benjamin Millepied. But that’s hardly the only excitement she’s got coming in the new year. The 29-year-old actress — who graces the cover of this week’s Oscar Race issue — is poised to score a Best Actress nomination for her career-high turn as a tormented ballerina in Black Swan, a role she says nearly destroyed her. “There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die,” she says. “It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.” Instead, the performance has lifted Portman into the ranks of Oscar shoe-ins this year (alongside 127 Hours star and Oscar co-host James Franco, who also gets his own EW cover this week) and turned Black Swan into an unlikely box office star — with a little help from a steamy love scene between Portman and co-star Mila Kunis. “Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie,” Portman says. “I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”

For more on Portman and Franco, plus Oscar picks from EW’s Dave Karger, check out this week’s issue, on stands Friday, December 31st.

Comments (130 total) Add your comment
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  • dipshat


    • dipshat

      P.S, do you mean Friday, January 1st?

      • Fail

        WOW. Wanna check your calendar again?

      • UGH

        What a horrible mustache. You too, James Franco.

      • Tye-Grr

        @UGH- You’re an idiot. Portman is FLAWLESS. Franco too for that matter. ;)

      • jon

        Wait, who are those humanoid creatures? Photoshop much, EW? Those smiles are creepy. And you managed to make James Franco look like a creepy French pedophile. Job well done, whoever you are who does the magazine cover “art”…

      • levelheaded

        @Jon creepy French pedophile… I snorted. awesome.

      • orville

        Yep–Creepy French pedophile may just become my new go-to insult. :-)

      • anrazx

        OMG ,My friend Vanessa, a 25 yrs lady, has announced her wedding with a millionaire young man Ronald who is the CEO of a MNC. It’s amazing, she said she just posted her profile on a millionaire dating site called ———-Rich’Friends.Org—– – and received his chat invitations a few days later. Then, everything went so well that I can’t believe it’s true! you can start your own love story for real at there too !

      • chantal

        i think james looks hot! good job ew!

      • Jean Genie

        What’s so creepy about smiling these days? So many stars – especially Kings Of Leon & Taylor Swift – look like androids with their lack of facial expressions. Is this because of the popularity of Botox & computer animation? How sad the 21st century is …

    • BFD

      Wouldn’t it be really funny if neither of them won :D

    • Dwight K Schrute


    • Rashad

      Natalie Portman is SEXY AS HELL!! BEAUTIFUL

      • Jean Genie

        Yes, she’s not only gorgeous – she also didn’t need a reality show to get a career.

    • Rashad

      Natalie Portman is BEAUTIFUL….I’m in love with her :)

  • Tom

    Natalie Portman is pregnant. We get it. It’s been announced. Many times. Can we please, in the name of all things sacred, move on now?

    • Mel

      I’m pregnant too, where’s my national coverage? Oh, that’s right. Women have babies everyday. I wish I looked like her though…..

      • Dave

        How about you do something noteworthy? Then people might care.

      • Teri

        Because bringing life into the world is not noteworthy.

      • levelheaded

        Bringing a life into the world is not noteworthy actually, women have been doing it for years.

        However, just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you have done anything noteworthy either.

        I think people are shocked.

        I know I was, I mean Natalie and I are like this *crosses fingers* and I had no idea she was even dating! Let alone procreating…

        It’s all so, so , sudden!

      • PJ

        Aww, you’re jealous! How cute.

    • Kris

      Did you read beyond the first line? Cuase that’s really not the point of the story. You’re jealous, I get it, can we move on now?

  • Karen Sorensen

    Or December 31st?

  • WAsP

    I recently watched the Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) and I have to say Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander is just brilliant and captivating. I hope she wins for best actress for the last movie.

    • Ben

      I think Noomi Rapace was awesome in al of those, especially the most recent, however I don’t think there’s room for her in the race this year because it’s already such a crowded category and she’s not exactly a front runner.

    • underthefan

      Agree 100% with WAsP. She just sank into this role. It really was the best performance I saw this year.

  • jared

    That and the films were released in Sweden LAST YEAR, not 2010.

    • Matt

      Oscar eligibility for the major categories is based on when the film was released in the US, not in the country of origin.

  • The Dream Police

    The ads for “Black Swan” are misleading. It’s not a thriller. Perhaps a psychological drama. But it is not a thriller.

    • sonny

      I think it’s a thriller. It is not misleading viewers. It is a THRILLER.

      • jasmine

        it’s a psycological thriller!

  • Mel B

    NP totally deserves a Nom! Saw “Black Swan” last week. She was amazing, the movie was amazing[ly creepy].

  • alex

    After seeing Black Swan in theaters I have to say that I LOVED it and think that Portman deserves the academy award, I saw The Kids are Alright as well and think that Annette Benning was excellent, but that Portman’s performance was just that much more intense.

    • mike

      Both Natalie and Annette were superb, but I think Noomi in any of the “Girl” movies was just as good — if there are any surprise nominations I hope it’s her.

  • James

    Portman deserves the Oscar 100%. And funny how Franco is the other cover, because I think he completely deserves the Oscar as well. No one compares to these two this season.

    • Not Franco

      Colin Firth deserves the win for The King’s Speech. Franco was good, too, though.

      • Carolina Carvalho


      • Denise

        Colin also deserves to be on the cover, instead of James.

      • Kate

        @Denise- Franco and Portman are hosting the Oscars this year, that is why they are on the covers. The fact that they are front runners has nothing to do with it.

      • Buzz

        Portman isn’t hosting w /JF , Anne Hathaway is…

      • KarlHall

        OMG mr darcy!!! I gotta say, that BBC series of P&P was one of the best ever!

      • musicgirl

        Colin Firth was so outstanding that he deserves to win every award being given. His performance gave me chills. Both he and Guy Ramsey carried movies to a new high…they displayed what real acting is all about..they became the characters. I cannot say enough about The Kings Speech…one of the best movies I have ever seen. In fact we are going to see it a second time tomorrow.

  • mj

    whatever happened to James Franco?? he looks like a 50 YO man… damn…

    • Matt

      Ha, yeah, look at those lines around his eyes. And that’s on a touched-up magazine cover. Damn, remember how hot he was in Spiderman… where’d *that* guy go?

      • m1

        He grew up. You should, too.

      • starr

        well considering the fact that he’s been in 5 different graduate school programs the last 3-ish years and he’s still been active in the entertainment industry, i’d say that a lack or sleep and some stress would only make James look a little more aged…you know, since he’s still just a normal person after all…

      • mike

        I hope to look that good at 50!

      • tomm

        “OMG, lines around the eyes! We are all supposed to look like teenagers forever!” Grow up you $@!#$@!# superficial brats!

      • Tim

        Taking inanities a little too seriously, people? I think the original posters were just showing surprise over how much older he looks in the past few years. What’s the big damn deal. Typical online rudeness to be calling people you don’t know anything about “$@!#$@!# superficial brats.” Simple observations and opinions – no need to get all nasty about them.

      • mj

        hahaha suckers!

    • lool

      All I want is for him to shave off that d*mn mustache! He used to look so cute!

    • Lena

      He looks like a young Charles Bronson in that pic. Not cute.

    • dipshat

      Shoe-in! Ha! made my day.

  • Matt

    And enough about the lesbian scene. It was, what, about 3 minutes of the movie? And while, sure, it plays to a certain mindset in the movie, I think the film could have not even included that scene – it was semi-gratuitous. (Uh, and without even showing much. If you’re looking for the lesbo T&A, guys, this ain’t the movie for it.)

    • musicgirl

      I was thoroughly disgusted at this movie…the sex scenes were so graphic and unnecessary to the plot..just thrown in to appease the perverts out there…it certainly would appeal to the lowest common denominator of the viewing public and it brought movies to a new low. Shame on you Annette…you are much too good an actress to have played such a degrading role.

  • kst


  • kris

    james looks so great!!hottest man alive

  • Marie

    Shouldn’t the cover have Anne Hathaway instead, since both she and James are hosting. if James wasn’t on the cover then it wouldn’t matter that Natalie is also there, but since it is James it seems like Anne should also be there!

    • I Agree Marie

      Thanks Marie. I was wondering the same thing…

      • davey

        The Oscar RACE Is On”….Hathaway is not really in the Oscar talk at all this season – that’s why Natalie is on the cover. It has nothing to do with who’s hosting but who will likely land Oscar nods.

    • Joseph

      James and Natalie are shoo-ins for Best Actor and Actress race that is why EW chose them for the cover. Anne Hathaway is not a frontrunner for the race. They aren’t featuring the hosts.

    • tipsy

      But Natalie and James are starring in Your Highness together. That`s why.

      • Buzz

        no doubt , THAT is the real reason why . Actors aren’t on covers of magazines ( or shouldn’t be) unless there is a project to promote.
        tipsy has explained the motives here …

  • jasmine

    OMG! i dont know which cover i want! i love both of them (natalie portman has always been my favorite actress and i have an obsession with james franco) and i will be really happy to get either cover, but then really sad when i dont have the other

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