10 Best Acting Performances Of The Last Decade

8. Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Natalie Portman

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Every lad reading this article will have one thing come to mind – one scene that only ever took place in the dark recesses of our minds before Darren Aronofsky decided to make the sordid illusion a reality. For those of you that haven’t witnessed that which I have so delicately described, I shall now recount the experience in full, leaving it up to the editor to censor as he sees fit:

As Lily (Mila Kunis) slowly ******* *** ****** ** *** **-****, Nina (Natalie Portman) ***** *** ** ******** whilst she ** ****** ** ******. It all gets rather **** (** * **** ***) ******* Lily ***** ******* Nina’s ********* ****** ***** slowly at first, and then ****** *** ****** before she finally ******* **** ******.

Now, whilst around 75% of the male readers go for an uncharacteristically long trip to the bathroom, I can explain why Natalie Portman’s performance makes it onto this list.

The beginning of the film presents Nina as being a talented, committed ballerina – a perfectionist whose naivety leads her to believe that working hard is the only ingredient required to be able to play both The White Swan and The Black Swan. Portman plays her with fragility, and this fragility becomes more and more prominent as her life descends into a frantic struggle to free her emotions and become a more passionate dancer. We know the character has inner strength – she fights through a living nightmare in order to be the person she needs to be, but at the same time we see the remarkably delicate nature of her own sanity (vivid hallucinations and the like) and Natalie juggles these characteristics perfectly to create one of the most complex, in-depth character portrayals of the last decade.

Natalie Portman has been a wonderful actress ever since she appeared in Leon: The Professional aged just 13, but this performance is without doubt her finest to date, and well worth its spot at number 8.