Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

The Mother of All Biases: Why My Oscar Picks Hinge On Natalie Portman's Anus

General StuffTeresa Strasser6 Comments

Thanks to the Today Show blog for posting this ...


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. Okay, I totally didn’t get her before and probably made cracks about her giant floating head and wooden acting, 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 and inapproachability, that’s all changed. Now, I’m pretty sure her anus is itching and swollen. And I like that.

While 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 quietly snide judgment and adolescent reverence), 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 the hemorrhoids or any of the rest of it to a personal assistant or publicist.

Nope. And that baby will have to come out of her one way or the other.

With Oscar night around the corner, my second Academy Awards as a mom, 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 suck, now that I’m a mother, I can’t help but feel like these women are somehow representing for 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. Now that I’ve reproduced, that’s my girl.

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. I’m also getting behind Amy Adams, Leo’s co-star from “The Fighter,” who totes around her newborn 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.

Now that I’m a mother, I can’t help but look at everything, even the Academy Awards, through the prism of maternity. Natalie knows what I mean. Or she will soon.

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

Thought experiment: imagine Snooki with child. Okay, I’m sorry but this is important to make my point. When I see a pregnant Snooki, I actually like her. I want her to sober up. I’d have to root for her, because like some big white stiff the Warriors draft who inevitably can’t shoot (or rebound) and eventually breaks my heart, in this vision, she’s my loser now. Snooki, I know you’re not too into reading, (though you do have a bestselling book, go figure) but if you happen to see this, please, please, don’t make me love you. You’re never too drunk to take out that moment for birth control.

Now back to Natalie Portman’s ass.

Team evolution, well, let’s just say fertility always has a winning season. So while it’s nothing special to procreate, if it’s happened to you in the recent past, you know what it is to squeeze into an empire waist dress and hope your boobs don’t leak. You know what it is to absent-mindedly rest your hand on your bump, as Natalie does these days. You know what it’s like to win a Golden Globe and make a speech blathering on about the new life you’re creating with your choreographer baby daddy you met on the set of a ballet thriller. Okay, that gets too specific, but you feel me. You feel me like she feels that fetus kicking her right in the rib, because you’ve been there.

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.