Last week, 27-year-old ballet soloist Sarah Lane dropped a bombshell that set the town ablaze with what barely qualifies as scandal, claiming she actually did most of the dancing in "Black Swan" for Natalie Portman and was told to keep her trap shut during Oscar season. Boo-frickin'-hoo.
This argument is ridiculous, of course, since the soul of Portman's performance is not her dancing but whether she pulls off the arc of mental disintegration the character goes through, which she does in spades. Would "Raging Bull" be less compelling if we told you that was De Niro in a fat suit at the end instead of really gaining all that weight? (For the record, it was real Oscar flab.) Would Arnold Schwarzenegger be less awesome in "Terminator 2" if you knew Arnie didn't have a metal endoskeleton grafted onto the bones under his skin? Okay, Arnold's not a robot (we think), but you get the idea.
"Natalie danced her ass off," said co-star Mila Kunis in Portman's defense to Entertainment Weekly. "She'll tell you [that], no, she was not on pointe when she did a fouetté [turn]. No one's going to deny that. But she did do every ounce of every one of her dances. [Lane] wasn't used for everything. It was more like a safety net. If Nat wasn't able to do something, you'd have a safety net. The same thing that I had — I had a double as a safety net. We all did. No one ever denied it."
If the word of a super-hottie isn't enough to curb your suspicion, the guy who wrestled the performance from her, director Darren Aronofsky, chimed in with a statement through Fox Searchlight:
"There are 139 dance shots in the film," said the director. "111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80-percent Natalie Portman. What about duration? … If we were judging by time over 90-percent would be Natalie Portman."
There you go. If you're still upset that Portman possibly took advantage of the public/Academy Awards' trust, we'd also like to point out that Dustin Hoffman didn't really count all those toothpicks in "Rain Man" either, Tom Cruise did between shots then whispered it in his ear before the take.
Aronofsky concluded, "I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor. Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance. And I don’t want anyone to think that’s not her they are watching. It is.”