Oscar Nominee Natalie Portman Praises 'Black Swan' Director

Best Actress nominee says nod is 'a wonderful culmination of the 10-year journey with Darren [Aronofsky].'

For those who've been following the awards season, it's not too big of a surprise that "Black Swan" earned five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress (Natalie Portman), and Best Director (Darren Aronofsky). Portman had already won significant recognition for her role in the ballet thriller at the Golden Globes, the Independent Spirit Awards and 10 regional critics' awards associations. So while her first Best Actress Academy Award nomination may not have been unexpected, the actress says she's humbled by the honor.

"I am so honored and grateful to the Academy for this recognition. It is a wonderful culmination of the 10-year journey with Darren to make this film," Portman told MTV News in a statement. "Making 'Black Swan' is already the most meaningful experience of my career, and the passion shown for the film has completed the process of communication between artists and audience. I am so thankful for the support we have received and I share this honor with the entire cast and crew of the film, especially Darren Aronofsky."

This is also Aronofsky's first Oscar nomination. (His 2008 film "The Wrestler" earned Mickey Rourke the Best Actor award for his performance.) Aronofsky has always seemed to target a niche audience with films like "Pi," "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Fountain," so producer Brian Oliver said he was glad that Aronofsky was getting much-deserved recognition.

"I'm really happy for Darren. Darren is a visionary filmmaker and it's finally nice that they recognized him," Oliver told MTV News. "It's also interesting to see how well the movie is being received internationally and in Europe, with the 12 BAFTA nominations and the box-office success, so it's another kudos to Darren, appealing to a wide audience outside a small niche."

With all of the recognition "Black Swan" has been receiving, it was a bit surprising that the film's impressive range of supporting actresses — Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder and Barbara Hershey — didn't get any nods. (Kunis was nominated for a Supporting Actress Golden Globe, though she didn't win.) Oliver theorized that the actresses may have been overlooked because their performances didn't get enough early praise.

"As we saw the race went on, all of our supporting actresses' names were moving up the list, and maybe the recognition started a little too late for Barbara but she definitely ended up being a contender. She did an amazing job. I think if we had another few weeks before nominations, she would have gotten it and maybe Mila as well," the producer said. "Maybe the argument too is we split votes. I think a lot of people voted for Mila, a lot of people voted for Barbara, which is great, it's another testament to Darren, but it probably split their chances."

Check out everything we've got on "Black Swan."

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