It’s rare a child actress can burst on the scene with a debut that makes her look like she’s been in the business for years. In 1994, Natalie Portman made her first acting role in Leon the Professional, an action thriller. It wowed critics with her drive and charisma and a star was born. In 1999, Portman was elevated to box office icon with her role as Padme in the Star Wars prequels. She did take a break for a bit to be in Harvard and ground her, showing she could avoid the problems of other young starlets and keep herself grounded. Since then, Portman has bounced around from studio fare to indies and the occasional blockbuster. It all paid off in 2011 as she won just about every Best Actress trophy, including the Oscar, for her turn in Black Swan.
Portman has been a fashion-forward lady for some time, her stylists always making her look amazing. Even when pregnant twice, Portman has never ceased to amaze on the red carpet. It carries to her movies, something about that long brown hair and lovely face (she was born in Israel) just entices majorly. A proud leader for female rights issues and always ready to speak out, Portman is terrific, and looks amazing in any setting. From her movie roles to magazine shoots to red carpets, Portman is able to have looks that steal the hearts of people, and just look absolutely beautiful. Here are 20 times a Natalie outfit stole the hearts of fans, whether in real life or on screen, and why she’s as acclaimed for fashion as she is for acting.
20 The Queen
In a special tribute to George Lucas, Carrie Fisher got a big laugh from the crowd noting how “the chick who plays my mother…wears a new hairstyle and outfit practically every time she walks through a door!” Indeed, Portman had no idea when cast as Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequels, that she would be wearing more outfits in three movies than she’s worn in the rest of her career. They range from massively elaborate dresses to more “streamlined” outfits but all with a special vibe to them.
Notable are the huge headdresses for state functions; the blue jumpsuit/dress she wears when she first meets Anakin; the gorgeous form-fitting black gown with bare shoulders for a romantic meal; and even a guard uniform. There’s also the Episode III outfits designed to hide her pregnancy yet still looking great. Yes, the movies have many detractors and some feel Portman’s acting was rough. But there’s no denying few could pull off those costumes and look so great and thus it has to count as a beloved part.
19 Becoming Jackie
A woman ahead of her time, Jackie Kennedy was bringing an almost regal air to the White House. She had amazing style and women adored copying her dresses. Of course, she also became an icon handling the death of her husband and keeping the country together in mourning. Many an actress has tackled playing her on screen and in 2016, Portman followed.
The drama focused on Jackie in the immediate aftermath of JFK’s assassination, the funeral and handling a life outside the White House. Portman won hails for perfectly nailing the woman’s look from the hair to the iconic outfits like this bright red dress that was a favorite of Jackie’s at the White House. She also wore the infamous pink outfit and pillbox hat from that fateful day in Dallas. Portman won some of the best reviews of her career an Oscar nod for the role as she managed the epic task of pulling off a fashion icon very well.
18 A Goddess
For some reason, Portman just didn’t work out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Casting her as Jane Foster in Thor was a big move but the part seemed to be underwritten and didn't give Natalie a chance to show herself off. Also, for all her skills, trying to be believable as a genius scientist seemed out of Portman’s wheelhouse. Her chemistry with Chris Hemsworth was okay but hardly a great love as it should have been.
For The Dark World, Jane is infected by an ancient “virus” and thus brought to Asgard for testing. This lets Portman don their robes and she does look stunning in them, a virtual goddess in her own right. Even the necklace looks good with the complex robe that she used with her attitude. Sadly, the movie is considered one of the poorer efforts of the MCU and Portman ended up being written out of Ragnarok with an off-screen breakup. Yet for that brief time, she looked good in the part and maybe deserved more of a shot to shine well.
17 Public Padme
While Portman had attended the Oscars before, the 2005 ceremony was different. It was her first time as a nominee and thus she had to make a good impression. She came out in an outfit that more than a few fashion critics wondered was a leftover from the Star Wars set. But it looked gorgeous with her hair done up in a braided style and a bright smile to her face.
The silk dress is gorgeous, not totally sheer but looking very nice, some glimpses of her underrated legs and while braless, it’s not too overt. The silver belts around her body add another good touch to shine off and a cool motif that fits the setting. She didn’t win but looked truly glamorous on the red carpet even among the Hollywood elite. It was a wonderful turn by Portman to stand out well and moving into adulthood to prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s most glamorous ladies.
16 Garden Swim
Time has not been kind to this 2004 comedy. Many see it as writer/director/star Zach Braff at his most self-indulgent, and pushing too much of his own vibe into things. He played a man who doesn’t feel emotions handling his paralyzed mother. Portman is Sam, a paralegal who’s also a compulsive liar who gets into an odd romance with Braff. The two have a good chemistry but the movie now seems stilted in its dialogue and frankly too much “indie pop” to work right.
Yet Portman’s charisma cannot be denied, especially in the scene where she takes a moonlight swim. The sight of her in the red bikini is gorgeous, hair flowing in the water and shining well. While the movie itself may be forgettable, at least Portman looks great in this scene to rock a nice bikini body and how her beauty can elevate any film up nicely.
15 The Director Dig
The most recent bit where Portman made waves was at the Golden Globes, but it was a big one. The woman has been at the forefront of the wave of female-driven power and pushes in 2017, including speaking out about the abuses of various producers and directors. A card-carrying feminist, Portman has lent her voice and appearances to help promote equality.
At the 2018 Golden Globes, Portman came with Ron Howard to present Best Director. Her gown was amazing, the sleeves up to her shoulders but showing a nice dip at her chest to flaunt her beauty and that mix of style and glamour Portman does so well. After Howard did his intro, Portman dryly stated “Here are all the male nominees.” It got laughs and cheers and was soon hailed online of Portman taking a good shot at things. Maybe the Oscars listened by putting Greta Gerwig among their nominees for Director, and Portman showed how great she could look delivering a message.
14 The Lookalike
Over the years, it’s been pretty easy to mix up Portman and Keira Knightley. The two bear a fantastic resemblance to one another to the point where magazines have actually credited a picture of one at an awards show to the other. The fact that Portman can pull off a perfect British accent can just add to the confusion. So it makes total sense that before her rise to fame, Knightley was Portman’s lookalike. In The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala is shown at the beginning in white makeup and robes with Padme, one of her handmaids, before they come back to Naboo. There, Padme interrupts a talk to reveal she’s the real queen and “Amidala” is her decoy.
It was done pretty well thanks to how well the two looked alike and even sounding much the same. Surprisingly, the two haven’t worked together since but the way Portman handled this “twin” helped win fans over while giving Knightley’s own career a boost.
Sadly, Jane Got a Gun is overwhelmed by the behind-the-scenes drama. It was shot in 2013 but there were various problems of actors dropping out and replaced due to scheduling. It was planned for release in 2014 but then Relativity Media went bankrupt. Eventually acquired by the Weinstein Company, the movie saw several release changes before finally put out in late 2016 where it grossed less than a million dollars in its opening weekend. Too bad as the sight of Portman in a Western was rather intriguing. She played Jane, the wife of a former outlaw whose gang comes after him for payback. With him badly injured, Jane has to step up and defend her family and ranch.
Portman looked great in the outfits, preferring men’s clothing of full suits and wide-brimmed hats and looking like she stepped out of a classic 1950s film. She handled the action sequences well; seeing her firing off pistols in this suit was a great sight. The movie suffered by its delays but Portman hit the mark in style.
12 Wickedly Regal
Much has been written about Anne Boleyn, the ill-fated second wife of King Henry VIII. Some saw her as an innocent lady wrongly executed while others had her as a seductress. The Other Boleyn Girl views Anne as a conniving woman who seduces Henry and has affairs and deserves her fate. More than a few critics have felt the movie might have been better had Portman and Scarlett Johansson (who played sister Mary) had exchanged roles as Portman isn’t the type to play the femme fatale. However, she does do a decent job with the part, powerful and carrying on well.
She also looks astounding in the period costumes, already a queenly presence before her wedding. This green gown fits her body very well with the nice headdress and Portman has claimed in interviews it helped her bring out a darker edge. While the movie wasn’t a success, Portman still looked like a true queen in every way.
11 Your Highness
On paper this should have worked. Danny McBride and James Franco played a pair of brothers on a quest to rescue a princess in what was basically a stoner comedy take on the fantasy genre. Sadly, the movie was hit bad by critics and a box office flop. It’s too bad as Portman is clearly the best part of it as Isabel, a fighter who joins them to seek revenge on the evil wizard killing her family. The joke is that they treat her as the sidekick when it’s obvious she’s smarter and more capable than both of them put together.
She looked great in the denim suits that helped with her archery and lush hair flowing. Of course, the most memorable moment is when her character heads to a pond to strip down to a medieval bikini. Famously, the director didn’t think Portman looked right so had a “butt double” for the close-up shots. Yet, the faraway ones showed her own form is astounding and looked sexy as hell. The movie may have flopped but this scene alone made it worth watching.
10 Pink Power
2004’s Closer is a complex drama about four people who find their lives and romances intermingling. As it begins, Portman is Alice, a young woman working as a dancer in London who clicks with handsome Dan (Jude Law) and soon develops a relationship with him. It soon gets complex with him, once they're drawn to Julia Roberts’ and Clive Owen’s characters, but it gets even wilder.
To many, the attention was on Portman’s club performances and she did show a good vibe in them. The silky sequinned dresses flaunted her curves, flashes of a thong underneath and while she didn’t go full nude, she still had good moves on stage. There was also her pink wig that was a nice touch, making her somehow innocent despite her occupation. Portman did have good acting chops, earning her first Oscar nomination for the role and doing a good job. She may not be the hottest exotic dancer around but she pulled it off to shine on stage.
9 Barely There
Portman has actually resisted nudity a lot in her career. Even her role in Closer was notable as a stripper who didn’t show any real skin. The closest was a bit of side cheek in Hotel Chevalier and Planetarium. She’s actually shown off more via a couple of magazine shoots and once photographed topless at the beach. Thus, seeing her baring some skin is notable such as this photo shoot.
The white dress is unique, almost looking like a sheet or smock and flowing around her body very well. It shows off her underrated legs and some cheek but not too obvious. The shoulders are bare, the dress placed just right enough not to flash the goods but still looking well. Her hair is slicked back to highlight her gorgeous face, thin but not too much so and focusing on her exotic looks. It proves that Portman actually looks more alluring dressed but a few peeks here and there are quite good.
8 The Rapper
Portman usually gets her hand at dramas but every now and then, she shows a nice comic side to herself. Hosting Saturday Night Live in 2006, she got to show that in a few skits like her opening monologue of handling nerds asking Star Wars questions. A few more skits showed fun but the highlight of the show was a digital short starting off with Portman talking to an interviewer. They asked what a “day in the life of Natalie Portman is like,” and Portman launches into a wild black and white rap song.
It’s a crazy thing as she curses up a storm, talking of how she loves to drink and sleep around, slapping a kid dressed like Padme, smashing a bottle over her head. She even talked of smoking weed and constantly cheating while at Harvard and topped it off throwing a chair through a wall. It was hysterical to see Portman cutting loose like this and looking hot with short hair and black outfit to prove she can do comedy very well.
7 The Debut
From the beginning, there was just something about her. In 1994, Luc Besson brought what some consider his best film, Leon (renamed The Professional in the United States). Jean Reno played the title role of a highly skilled, if rather naïve, hitman. Portman was Mathilda, a young neighbour whose family is wiped out by a corrupt cop (Gary Oldman). The scene of Portman walking by the blood-stained apartment, knowing what’s happened but keeping cool, showed amazing power and drive. That carried into the movie where she and Leon enter a partnership as he teaches her the ropes of his job. The international cut even had a controversial scene of them sharing a kiss that was cut from the American version.
The film is known for its great action and a blistering final shoot-out. But at just eleven years old, Portman wowed critics and audiences, the lace top and tank top with choker, and short hair soon became an iconic look. It was the kickoff to her great career as from day one, she seemed more adult than most were ready for.
6 Bald and Beautiful
Portman is known for risks in her work but many were still taken aback by this. V For Vendetta adapted Alan Moore’s classic comic of a near-future England that has turned into a fascist nation. Portman (with a flawless British accent), is Evie, a young woman who finds herself abducted/rescued by V, an anarchist in a Guy Fawkes mask who’s organizing a grand rebellion. A powerful sequence is Evie captured and put through a major torturous experience.
Instead of the easy bit of a wig, Portman instead insisted on having her hair shaved for real on camera and managed to make it work. She sold the pain and then strength of Evie and Portman proudly wore her bald head in public for some time. She actually looked beautiful with it, standing out well with her intimidation and power, and somehow also not sacrificing her looks for it. It takes a truly gorgeous lady to make a bald head look alluring and Portman achieves that spectacularly well.
5 The Alluring
There’s something about this picture that just strikes you. The dress is a simple black slip, the dark necklace looking like a choker but it comes off looking nice and impressive. There’s the way she lounges on the sofa, looking relaxed yet oddly also in command. The way her curly dark locks flow around her face and the tiny hint of a smile on her flawless features.
Those alluring deep eyes seem to suck you in and hold your attention, something Portman has been able to do through her career. This pic is from 2005 just after Portman had wrapped up the Star Wars prequels and branching into even more adult territory. This photo is just before she shaved her head for V For Vendetta. The curls she's supporting here are wonderfully bouncy and fun, a touch of class that gets fans into her and serves to show Portman’s skills.
4 The Ballerina
The Oscars love actresses who develop deep into their roles. Thus, Portman had them in the palm of her hands, with her turn in Black Swan. The complex drama focuses on a dancer landing the role in Swan Lake and slowly losing her mind as she gets into it. Portman threw herself into the part, training eight hours a day with a mix of running, swimming, cross-training and enduring exercises. Portman endured the pains of dancers from cracked toes to sprained ankles and a few pulled muscles. While a body double was used for some sequences, Portman insisted on doing a lot of it herself and looked wonderful.
It helped that she had gorgeous costumes like the dark swan outfit itself. It’s remarkable with its design, the makeup and the crown, like something otherworldly. Yet just in a “workout” outfit, Portman looks like a fashion model, her thin but strong form on display and handling the moves well. It’s the role that earned Portman an Oscar and won over fans with how she could make a dark role shine.
3 The Trailer Park Look
Terrence Malick is well known for his visionary moves and being a great director. He’s also known for complex shoots and infamous for how he’ll cut entire performances out of his finished films. Knight of Cups is one of his odder efforts, as it is a mix of different stories.
Portman shows up in the “Death” segment as a married woman worried she’s pregnant by the man she’s been having an affair with. This pic has her working a trailer park like look with a tight pink top showing her belly, and jean shorts. We’re so used to Portman looking top-notch and like a million bucks, so seeing her “dressing down” is more interesting. The blonde hair also adds to it and yet also looks amazingly hot and sexy. Overall, it’s a great outfit and one that showcases Portman can make any ensemble look good. We wouldn't mind meeting this trailer gal.
2 The Warrior Queen
As much as Star Wars fans may dislike the prequels, they had some good moments. In the first film, Portman’s Padme was mostly on the sidelines in a variety of outfits and only a bit of action. The second movie is hated by fans for the frankly terrible romantic dialogue of Padme and Anakin and how the actors seemed to be pushed not to have much charisma.
However, Portman did win some favor with her great white outfit when Padme and Anakin end up on the planet of Genosis and put in an arena. Padme gets her outfit ripped and thus is able to show off a rather nice mid-riff. Portman gets more into it with firing off a blaster and handling more action, Padme not waiting for Anakin or Obi-Wan but pulling herself up a chain and using it to attack. It’s a great sequence showing the spirit she would pass on to her children. Portman looks sensational in the outfit and it’s one moment of the prequels where Padme truly shines.
1 Victory Glow
It’s the highlight of any actress’ career. To many, Portman seemed destined for an Oscar from her first role and fans were happy to see her have it. There had been some controversy given how Annette Bening was getting a push for her role in The Kids Are All Right and her great moves. But Portman’s turn in Black Swan was too much to ignore and thus she earned the Oscar for Best Actress.
Making it all the better was Portman pregnant at the time and while she had to waddle a bit up the stairs to get her award, she was obviously happy. The dress was beautiful, a purple color flowing over her body. Her lush hair flowed down one shoulder in a nice style and the large earrings were a good addition. Of course, the biggest was that gold statue, the payoff of her amazing work being showcased like that. Between the award and her pregnancy glow, Portman has never looked better.