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DEC
14
3 YEARS

Will Natalie Portman's Ashton Kutcher Comedy Cost Her an Oscar?

"On the heels of her Oscar-worthy Black Swan performance," wrote Henry Alford in the New York Times on Wednesday, "Natalie Portman will appear in an Ashton Kutcher movie [Ivan Reitman's No Strings Attached]. Natalie's Norbit."

Norbit was the 2007 calamity that some say cost Eddie Murphy a likely Oscar for Dreamgirls, so Alford means that Reitman's PG-13 movie about the perils of sexually escalating friendship will be so non-Oscar-worthy its stench will obliterate her trophy hopes.

"[He's] being a bit silly," says freelance writer Kathy Fennessy. "No Strings Attached looks like fluff, but Portman has earned the right to let her hair down for a change. Plus, there's a difference between a rom-com and a grossout comedy."

"An Ivan Reitman film is always a problem for me," says blogger Jeff Wells, "but the Norbit in Eddie Murphy's case wasn't a one-off but an especially egregious reminder to everyone of all the pieces of shit Murphy had made in the past."

Except for Shrek, Murphy's Rottentomatoes scores were awe-inspiringly abominable around then:

Norbit: 8% 
Daddy Day Care: 28%
Haunted Mansion: 13%
I Spy: 15%
The Adventures of Pluto Nash: 6%

"Portman doesn't have this kind of history," says Wells. "And No Strings Attached was once a very well liked script called F---buddies. So maybe Reitman didn't totally f--- it up."

"I think Portman will escape the wrath," says Film.com's Laremy Legel, who wrote about Eddit's Norbit problem, "because the film won't come near Norbit's $95 million haul [which may have irked Oscar voters]. She's also coming out two weeks earlier [before the Oscars] than Norbit, which should give her a chance to recover. It will be a story around nomination time, but she's more beloved in Hollywood than Murphy was."

She's certainly beloved today: she and Black Swan both got Golden Globe nominations.