Will Natalie Portman's Big News Equal Oscar Gold?
By Jo Piazza Posted Dec 28th 2010 06:00PM
Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, a more angst-ridden season is upon us -- Oscar season. The contenders have been unfurling their respective campaigns for months. Nominations are expected on Jan. 25, after which Academy members will vote on the winners. In a perfect world, the best films and actors would win Hollywood's most coveted award, but Tinseltown is far from perfect. The two factors that really drive a good Oscar campaign aren't talent and honor but likability and buzz. With her perfectly-timed wedding and baby announcement, Natalie Portman is garnering both.
"Oscars season campaigning is every bit as political as an election, because like a national election, it is a competition for votes. The likability factor is a huge part of that, because talent and popularity are equally important. There's no way Mel Gibson could win an Oscar with his current reputation, simply because so many voting members of the Academy can't stand him," explains StyleList celebrity editor Ben Widdicombe. "Many big names coordinate their private lives to appear most appealing to industry voters during awards season -- like that actress with the huge smile who persuaded her actor boyfriend to stick by her side months after their relationship had actually ended so she didn't lose the glamor and synergy of being half of a celebrity couple. Once she had the little gold man on her mantelpiece, however, she quite happily shed the real man on her arm."
I think we know exactly who Widdicombe is talking about. Now that was a well-oiled campaign.
Very little generates more buzz or likability in Hollywood than baby news. Having a baby brings the most elevated celebrity to regular person level and elevates an unlikable celeb to best friend status. Ask Nicole Richie. Plus, being pregnant has been particularly stylish this year.
"If this past year has shown us anything, it's that pregnancy is fashionable. Victoria's Secret angel Adriana Lima confessed that she was approached to walk the runway pregnant, only to be turned down for the gig because she wasn't pregnant enough, and fellow Angel Miranda Kerr's naked pregnant belly was all over the pages of fashion glossies. And that's just to name a few. So news of Natalie's pregnancy should certainly keep the buzz going," says Fashionista Associate Editor Leah Chernikoff.
At age 29, Portman will most likely be competing against a much more mature group of women, among them Annette Bening and Nicole Kidman. Yet her terrifying performance in 'Black Swan' has critics and audiences alike singing her praises, so HollywoodLife Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller doesn't think Portman needs a little pink baby to get herself a little gold man.
"Natalie is already the frontrunner for best actress because of her riveting performance in 'Black Swan.' I don't think her pregnancy will help or hurt her chances," Fuller says. "While it may not affect her chances for the Oscar, it will make the speculation about her gown choice all the more gripping!"
Ahhh, yes! The gown! Which designer will best accentuate a wee Portman baby bump?
"We'd be surprised if Portman didn't wear Rodarte on Oscar night. They designed the ballet costumes for 'Black Swan' and Portman is a fan of the Mulleavy sisters and has worn their creations to the Oscars before. Luckily most of Rodarte's spring 2011 dresses have got loads of ruffles and embellishments around the waist -- perfect for hiding a baby bump," Chernikoff says.
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