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The mother of all Oscar biases: Why I suddenly love Natalie Portman

Feb. 22, 2011 at 1:43 PM ET

With Oscar night around the corner, I find myself rooting for the moms. Now that I’m a mother, I can’t help but feel like these women are somehow representing my home town, the place where pacifiers and nasal aspirators and spent tubes of Balmex live.

By Teresa Strasser, TODAY Moms contributor

Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images /
Awww, c'mon, how can you not root for her? She's glowing!

Natalie Portman has hemorrhoids. 

I don’t know that for sure. I’m just guessing, because she’s pregnant and I’m a new mom and that makes me love Natalie Portman all the more. I totally didn’t get her before, but now I adore her and would be psyched if she won the Oscar. 

Like many celebrities, all Natalie had to do to win me over was get pregnant. It’s that easy. Where before she was just a tiny thing with tiny pores, a Harvard degree and air of remoteness, that’s all changed. Now, I’m pretty sure her anus is itching and swollen. And I like that.

Rationally, I understand that her pregnancy hasn’t categorically changed her personality (never met the woman, but like most of us, I have unilateral relationships with celebrities that toggle between snide judgment and adolescent reverence). But motherhood is such an equalizer that even the Black Swan will likely get cankles, varicose veins, unfortunate discharge, bleeding gums, gas, leg cramps and insomnia. No way she can assign any of it to a personal assistant or publicist.

Teresa Strasser is rooting for Team Mom.

With Oscar night around the corner, I find myself rooting for the moms. Why? It’s simple. Just like I’m from San Francisco and I root for the Golden State Warriors, no matter how much they blow, now that I’m a mother, I can’t help but feel like these women are somehow representing my home town, the place where pacifiers and nasal aspirators and spent tubes of Balmex live. It’s not Paris, but it’s where I live now, and I’ll buy the jersey of anyone playing for me. Get me a signed pair of Air Portmans and I’ll wear those bad boys. And it looks like, with a couple big award season wins under her maternity Spanx, she's got another one coming. But the mom bench is deep this year.

There’s also four-time Oscar nominee and mother of four Annette Bening, who plays a cool, spiky haired lesbian mom in “The Kids Are All Right.” Bening has done her time strolling and burping and Bjorning and now I want her to have an Oscar to go with her Kathryn, Benjamin, Isabel and Ella. Let’s not forget Nicole Kidman, a mother of both biological and adoptive children whose performance in “Rabbit Hole” involved losing a toddler son. (Are you kidding me? Even if it’s play-acting that’s too much for a mom with a baby.  Just give her the damn statue.) I can’t ignore Melissa Leo, either. She plays a mother of nine, including two boxers — one’s a crack addict — and seven crazy-haired, thick-accented, boozy sisters. What mother can't relate to Michelle Williams, who plays a raw and overworked mother in "Blue Valentine" and of course, is famously a single mother in real life? I’m also getting behind Amy Adams, Leo’s co-star from “The Fighter,” who totes around her adorable baby daughter in between award season appearances.

Amy’s only problem is that she’s been trumped by the mother of all mothers, Natalie Portman, who because she happens to be pregnant right now, takes the mom cake (and hopefully binges on the frosting). When she waddles glowing down that red carpet, that’s all we’re going to see. I mean, unless she wears something really tacky.  

When it comes to capturing the hearts of moms, having a kid is the best PR move an actress can make. Adopting one — like last year’s Best Actress winner, Sandra Bullock — is just as effective. Because even if you are a cold, conniving, selfish, narcissist, we will imagine you with all of the characteristics we want mothers to have —warmth, selflessness, tenderness — and maybe the dark ones we have ourselves — fatigue, confusion and moments of grief for the carefree lives we had before.

So come Oscar night, I’ll be sitting down with my baby, my customary tub of caramel corn and my picks. No matter how many children they have or are about to have, I’m pointing a foam finger at my imaginary team and betting with my heart, ‘cause I’m the mother of all fans.

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy Award-winning writer and author of “Exploiting My Baby,” which Dr. Phil says "will make you laugh until you're sick, I swear." See her blog at ExploitingMyBaby.com for more information.

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