Fans React to Natalie Portman’s Strange New Photoshoot: “Genuinely Baffled”

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Natalie Portman speaking at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

We’re only a few days into the new year, but so far, it seems like 2024 is going to be chock-full of meme-worthy moments if the latest internet reactions to a new Natalie Portman magazine spread are anything to go by.

Jane Foster AKA Mighty Thor (Natalie Portman) in 'Thor: Love and Thunder'
Credit: Marvel Studios

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With awards season right around the corner, Hollywood’s best and brightest actors are working tirelessly to promote their new film and TV projects, and Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman is no exception. Though she might be best known for her roles in two of the most lucrative franchises of all time, Marvel and Star Wars, Portman is also remembered for her stellar performances in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) and the 1994 cult classic Léon: The Professional, which she starred in at just 11-years-old.

Today, it seems more than likely that Portman is on the verge of yet another Oscar nomination thanks to her role in Todd Hayne’s latest collaboration with NetflixMay December (2023), in which she plays actress Elizabeth Berry. The chilling drama, which is loosely inspired by the Mary Kay Letourneau case, also stars Julianne Moore and Charles Melton and has garnered critical acclaim since landing on the streaming platform late last year.

Related: Natalie Portman Reveals King Charles III Asked Her a Weird ‘Star Wars’ Question

To commemorate her role in May December, Portman recently appeared on the cover of W Magazine as part of the publication’s Best Performance Issue 2024. In it, she spoke about being a lifelong fan of Todd Haynes’ work and her fondness for working alongside Julianne Moore. But readers weren’t exactly paying attention to the article itself, as it was glaringly overshadowed by something else — the accompanying photos.

While unflattering may not be the right word, there’s no denying that the photoshoot looks somewhat haphazardly thrown together, with Portman posing in what appears to be a Hollywood Boulevard gift shop surrounded by tourist knickknacks — all while dressed to the nines. In typical internet fashion, social media users were quick to respond to the images, with many taking to X to share their candid thoughts — and flat-out disses.

Right off the bat, @_catamaran deemed Portman’s W Magazine spread “some of the ugliest photos I’ve ever seen,” likely referring to the dim lighting, strange framing, and unusually straight-on angles:

Some of the ugliest photos I’ve ever seen fr

User @blueheartbeat0 compared Portman’s latest photoshoot to a famously meme-ified series of images taken by the same person, German photographer Juergen Teller. The artist has been somewhat controversial in the past for his seemingly underproduced, minimalist collaborations with A-listers such as Steven Yeun, George Clooney, and Gal Gadot, which tends to be his go-to style:  

Idk how this photographer keeps getting work

Meanwhile, @oasisraindrops took a jab at Teller’s perhaps understated visual aesthetic, demanding that magazines and other publications “bring back” higher-production photoshoots:

bring back expensive looking photoshoots

On Instagram, users continued to relentlessly mock Portman’s cover spread, with @morganlpotter commenting on W Magazine‘s post, “Genuinely baffled by this photoshoot.” @nicolasrozo agreed, writing, “These look like they were taken with an iPhone 5 with a team of one. This is not art, this is laziness.” Meanwhile, @jamapole said what many people were thinking, typing, “Y’all really messed up with the lighting.”

Ultimately, art is entirely subjective, and Juergen Teller is clearly doing something right if he keeps getting commissioned by these high-profile publications. Still, there’s no denying that the internet certainly did its thing with Natalie Portman’s latest photoshoot, even if those weighing in were, perhaps, a bit harsh. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if she can take home a second Oscar when this year’s ceremony kicks off in March.

What do you think of Natalie Portman’s W Magazine spread, creative choice, or complete disaster? Let us know in the comments below!

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