Like most winners of the Best Actress Oscar, Natalie Portman devoted a huge proportion of her victory speech in February to a series of tearful thank you messages to the people who she believed had helped on the long journey to the summit of her profession.
One name was left off the list, however. She was Sarah Lane, a professional ballerina who had served as Portman's body double on Black Swan, the film for which she carried off the Academy Award. And now, the disgruntled dancer is exacting a fearsome revenge.
In a series of interviews, Lane has claimed that she performed in 95 per cent of the critically acclaimed dance scenes in the Darren Aronofsky film, in which Portman plays a psychotic ballet dancer. She says that both audiences and Oscar voters were then deliberately misled about the real extent of her role. "Of the full body shots, I would say 5 per cent are Natalie," said Lane, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre who is described as a mere "hand double" in Black Swan's credits. "All the other shots are of me."
Her decision to speak out came after she read an interview with Portman's fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, who was Black Swan's choreographer, in The LA Times last week. He said that Lane "just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio," adding "honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie".
Lane describes that statement as deliberately misleading. But Fox Searchlight, the studio behind the movie, insisted that "Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film".