Did 'No Strings Attached, 'Your Highness' 'tarnish' Natalie Portman's Oscar?


Image Credit: Dale Robinette

No doubt, Natalie Portman has had plenty of victories in 2011. In the beginning of this year alone, she snagged a graceful man (fiancé Benjamin Millepied), a little man (a baby boy), and a very little man with big clout known as Oscar. Still, has 2011 proven to be a bad year for the Black Swan star?

That’s what the Hollywood Prospectus blog is claiming, at least. Using Rotten Tomatoes, the blog calculated the post-Oscar movie scores of all the Academy Award-winning actors with 2011 movies (11 in total) to determine which one “tarnished” their Academy Award the most during the course of the year. And which one proved to be the least victorious this year? Portman, who, thanks to No Strings Attached (which scored 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Your Highness (26 percent), and Thor (78 percent), decreased her pre-2011 positive Rotten Tomatoes average 28 percent. (Or, as Hollywood Prospectus calls it, 28 “Cubas,” named for poor Snow Dogs star Cuba Gooding, Jr.)

But don’t feel too bad for Portman — she’s in good company. Acclaimed actor Christoph Waltz placed second, thanks to The Green Hornet (44 percent) and Water for Elephants (60 percent), with Helen Mirren not far behind, thanks to Arthur (27 percent). And then again, you can’t take away the fact that Portman gave us the performance of a lifetime in Black Swan, helped Thor collect $177 million at the box office, and has managed to bounce back since holding Hayden Christiansen on the lake on Naboo. Not too bad if you ask me. Plus, isn’t every Oscar winner allowed a post-award slump? (Ahem, All About Steve!)

What say you, PopWatchers? Does Portman’s solid 2011 come with an asterix attached?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

Read more:
Natalie Portman gives birth to baby boy
‘No Strings Attached’ Review

Comments (138 total) Add your comment
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  • Kob

    Thor was not her movie. If her name wasn’t in Thor. I say yes.

    • musica1

      She was so horrible in Thor that they should take her Oscar away just for that. I really enjoyed the movie, but every time she would say a line, it sounded like a 7th grade play. She was so awkward that I had flashbacks to the Star Wars prequels and the bad love scenes with Hayden Christensen.

      • Mac

        Wow, really? I thought she was great in an otherwise minor role. I was sure she would be out of place in the movie, but really, there wasn’t a wink link in the cast at all.

      • avenger

        True, I’ve always thought she was massively overrated as an actress. Just think about some of the most egregious movies made in the last 15 years and she has been in quite a few of them. Also, she seems really really annoying. PS. she was Katie Holmes bad in Thor

      • Johnny

        People take stuff like this to seriously. Come on people! True she didn’t not give an oscar award winning role in THOR but she was decent enough for me & she got the Oscar for the movie she deserved it for. Not everything else after. Just because she won an Oscar, does it mean she has to give oscar winning performances for every movie she makes? I know everyone is entitled to there opinion but lets try not to sweat small stuff like this. Now if you wish you can start bashing me for what I said now cause I’m sure a few people will.

      • MesoSoup

        Portman was great in Thor.
        Nuff said

    • Geek

      This reminds of Eddie Murphy losing his Oscar because of Norbit lol.

      I though Portman was great in No Strings Attached. I was surprised I actually enjoyed that movie. I agree that she wasn’t too great in Thor. NO interest in Your Highness.

      • OMG

        Geek, I agree. Strings was actually a pretty good movie. Portman and Ashton were both good.

    • deedee

      If Making crap movies mean your Oscar gets taken away then Nic Cage, Ben Kingley, Nicole Kidman, Hillary Swank should all have their Oscars taken away & those are just off the top of my head.

      • Melaswen

        It’s Kingsley, but you’re correct anyway.

      • Dawn

        Correct, anyway? is that you YODA?

  • kate middleton

    Well, I don’t think she should have won for Black Swan anyway. But yes, I’d say winning an Oscar for Best Actress and then appearing in a pot movie the same month does tarnish it a bit.

    • davey

      OH MY GAWD! Get off you “high” horse there sweetie.

      • Sofia

        Thank you Davey, if you saw Black Swan, you’ll realize how emotionally drenching and depressing that movie was for the role that she played. Maybe she just wanted to do something “light hearted” to get away for the swan character. I think that Hollywood still repects her.

      • kate middleton

        Come on. There’s a place for movies like “Your Highness”, but they don’t usually have someone who just won an Oscar in them. I thought it was odd Natalie was in that movie, or in No Strings Attached, because she seemed to be going for more serious movies lately.

        And I saw Black Swan. It was good – and yes, very depressing. I thought Natalie was good in it, but I thought Annette Bening or Jennifer Lawrence’s performances were more Oscar worthy. Sorry if you don’t agree – everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

      • Tim

        They dump a truck load of money on your front porch and of course you take it. Oscar or not.

    • musica1

      The difference between Natalie Portman and some other actors who have been in bad movies post-Oscar is that they gave okay performances in the bad movies, where she is terrible. To me, that tarnishes her Oscar more than the quality of the movies themselves.

    • Phillip

      Well Kate Middleton I wouldn’t expect you to be a b!t@# but a lot of pot smoking movies have launched careers. And quite frankly I’m pretty sure anyone will still see a Natalie Portman movie because she is hot. Most likely unlike you because you have to go and tarnish a good Brits name.

      • ty

        Yea who cares if she’s a good actress or not because she is totally hot… right?

  • G

    Isn’t it a bit unfair to hold actors accountable for movies released immediately after their win, since many of these are “in the can” prior to their acceptance speeches? Black Swan was never a guaranteed hit (or a shoe in for oscar bait)so no one can blame her for wanting to earn a few paychecks. I think its more interesting to see how an actress or actor picks their movies completely AFTER the win. Do they stay art house or just completely sell out? (A-HEM NICOLOS CAGE).

    • therealeverton

      Nicolas Cage didn’t change after his Osacar he always switched between his quirky roles and his attempted commerical movies. He carried on the same ay, it was just his choice of Commerical movies greatly improved and he hit that triple streak of The Rock, Con Air & Face Off; whereas before LLV he had Guarding Tess and Trapped in Paradise (and It Could happen tto you which was a cross between quirky and attempted commercial movvie)

      • CandaceTX

        Nic must pay you alot to do his publicity.

      • MissMel

        I think it’s called being a fan.

      • Fingerlakes Dave

        What’s wrong with Guarding Tess?

    • BG 17

      I agree with G, and considering Kate Ward is using All About Steve as an example of a post award slump, when I believe it was released before The Blind Side (which would make it before the award won for the performance therein), I think that this article is grasping for relevance. I will agree with her about Cuba though…

  • therealeverton

    Hardly a slump. Apart from the fact that she made all of those movies before her Oscar (some befoe filming Black Swan too Ithink? Thor ihas made $440m and isn’t finished yet and even No Strings attached made a decent global gross. More to the point she was good in Thor and was one of the few highlghts of Your Highness. If anything she’s doing well, being associated with a solid performer a global blockbuster and a film that failed but nobody is blaming her for.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! I even thought she was good in No Strings Attached. People are idiots. This is one of the dumbest articles I’ve seen on EW.

  • Regina George

    She completely deserved to win that Oscar. And after giving that performance, it was time to let her hair down.

    • ty

      Wasn’t her “hair” kind of down before winning…

    • Sofia


  • Bobby

    She was freaking likable in No Strings Attached. I actually know a Portman-holdout who was one over by her charm in Thor. And Your Highness was enough of an ensemble not to hurt her. She is much more liked and respected than she was a year ago.

    • AcaseofGeo

      Its really a kind of stupid type of article, to be honest. She won based on that role, and those movies were made BEFORE she won the Oscar. She didn’t just rush out and film a movie and release it the next month. Its what she does next…

  • Christina

    I wonder why it took so long for this topic to come up. After I viewed the “Your Highness” trailer I thought ‘from Oscar to this?’ And staring in a comic book movie, and alongside Ashton Kutcher in a rom-com didn’t help. So I say yeah her 2011 movies have tarnished her Oscar. She doesn’t have to be in an artsy Oscar movie all the time, every actor is entitled to have a blockbuster, but 3 consecutive films of the caliber of the above then questions start getting asked.

    • ty

      I agree I would be ok if it wasn’t for them all being in one year. It really lowers your batting average as an actor to appear in every crappy film someone offers you. Which is what it seems she did.

  • punctuation police

    the word is ASTERISK. why is that so hard?

    • Jane

      Seriously it’s a lost cause man. EW blogs are about as grammatically correct as a first grader’s christmas wish list.

    • pastafarian

      They prolly got French Vikings on the brain.

      • Mo

        Oh, the humanity! They are Gauls, not Vikings! Remember, in Comic-Book World, Gauls=winged helmets; Vikings=horned helmets.

  • Colin

    didn’t ‘All About Steve’ come out in the same year as ‘The Blind Side’? I don’t think that counts as a post-Oscar slump if it happens at the same time, if not before, the Oscar. Try again next time, EW.

    • kate middleton

      Yes, it was definitely the same year because Sandra won a Razzie the night before (or after?) her Oscar.

    • musica1

      Michael Caine couldn’t be at the Oscars when he won because he was on location filming Jaws 4. And Jamie Foxx went from winning an Oscar for “Ray” to doing “Stealth.”


    Sometimes a movie sounds good in theory — Catwoman, The Black Dahlia, The Tourist, Water for Elephants — then it tanks, taking it’s oscar-worthy actor with it. It’s going to happen, over and over again actually. Because actors take chances and sometimes they don’t pay off.

    • 1humbleopinion

      Ummm, whatever you think of “The Tourist” it was hardly a flop. It made over $270MM worldwide. And “Water For Elephants” has grossed about $58MM in the U.S. and cost less than $40MM to make. I’m guessing Reese Witherspoon and Christolph Waltz are just fine with “Water For Elephants.”

  • ty

    I was not really a huge fan of her before Black Swan work. I don’t expect her work to now suddenly be on par with Black Swan. She gave a great performance(which was the least deserving of those nominated). But one great performance does not a Meryl or Tilda make. I’ve always found her to be serviceable but not incredible. Although even the best actors can make a slew of terrible films(Nicole…).

  • dingobaby

    hmm paying back a favor to someone at Grantland? pretty nice plug for the new site

  • John

    Seems strange to condemn a woman for films she made before she won her Oscar. If you must run an article of this sort shouldn’t you focus of Jamie Foxx or Adrien Brody whose post oscar careers have been cubaesque.

    • CandaceTX

      or you should just focus on Cuba… he is case in point why they should be allowed to recall Oscars

      • Scotty

        why should his oscar be recalled? he won based on one performance, not his body of work.

    • m1

      Agreed. Foxx and Brody gave amazing performances in the films they won their Oscars for, but their careers have been uninteresting since.

  • MortalKombat

    I like how people here think getting an Oscar winning or even nominating part is so easy. First off it is practically a hundred to one long shot to get offered a potential oscar contender. Even if you are an amazing actor it could take years or decades to get a role that could even be considered award worthy. That’s why being on television is much more acceptable these days because if you get offered a great role and the tv show gets decent ratings you can be on the air enjoying acclaim for years. The state of movies these days practically means you should only work towards the last 3 months of the year because everything else is pure garbage. By this knowledge Oscar winners and nominees should only appear in movies that come out near the end of years because those are the only ones that get acclaim. Compare that to TV awards where everything throughout the year can be nominated. You can see why being an actor on TV is much more appealing as long as you care about giving a great performance and not the big paycheck you get from being in a summer blockbuster movie. It is almost the rule that more often than not many actors that get nominated and even some that win oscars have trouble getting another award worthy role.

    • ty

      I don’t think most actors pick a role based on the thinking that it will get them an award. But anyway your comment is way to short you should have rambled on some more.

      • MortalKombat

        If actors didn’t care about getting an award then they almost never would be an oscar nominated film because oscar winning films aren’t filmed on that big of a budget. Therefore, the actors in those films don’t get paid that much money. King’s speech was made on 8 million, Black Swan 13 million, 127 hours 18 million. Those budgets alone are how much some actors make in summer blockbuster movies. If you only cared about making money as an actor you would always disregard low to mid budgeted films. But those films always end up nominated for awards.

      • ty

        Well I think you misunderstood me. When I said that I didn’t mean they must do it for money. I think most skilled actors probably pick roles based on those involved(director, other actors), or the part(a good intelligent role is hard to come by).

      • ty

        Most true actors probably don’t put that much weight in the Oscar. If Sandra Bullock can win one it doesn’t really mean all that much. I think that having a good body of work like Jennifer Jason Leigh(who’s never been nominated) trumps meaningless awards voted on by people like Beyonce and Dakota Fanning.

      • MortalKombat

        Yeah that or they like when they meet fans on the street saying how much they liked a role they were in. Edie Falco puts it best by saying “winning awards means I’m accepted in my profession but having a fan say how much they enjoy my work means more to me.”

      • ty

        for sure

  • bamalam

    What do the quality of films that someone does have to do with the actual acting skill an actor has? If Natalie deserved to win for Black Swan then great. Does that mean her skill as an actress diminishes because the quality of the films after her Oscar winning role aren’t as great as the quality of Black Swan? I don’t really understand and to judge someone based on that is kinda dumb. Eddie Murphy gave a great performance in Dreamgirls, but I think his chances of actually winning that Oscar were lowered because people judged him on the quality of Norbit. I think it is entirely possible to be an amazing actor/actress but be in an awful movie.

    • ty

      I think most of the time an actors skill has little to do with their oscar wins. As evidence by all the terrible performances that receive the award. Usually its the actors popularity(Sandra) or their body of work(Pacino). But I don’t the voters like the idea of an actor winning the award and then appearing in trash(cuba).Which most definitely hurt Eddie Murphy since crappy movies are his bread and butter.

      • CandaceTX

        could say the same for Jim Carrey. Both he and Eddie honestly have had Oscar worthy performances. The Academy discriminates against comedians

    • Sofia

      Bamalam, I think what you stated is true. Christian Bale was told after his Ocar win that most people believe he received the Oscar due to his body of work. He really gets into his work and I think that Hollywood also knew it, but didn’t have an independent movie to validate the win. I think that they found “The Machinist” a bit too much to acknowledge a nomination.

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