As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in scientific journals.
Her 1998 high school paper, "A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar," co-authored with scientists Ian Hurley and Jonathan Woodward, was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. In a magazine interview, Portman said that she was "different from the other kids. I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked very hard.
She was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and won the BFCA for Best Actress.
In May 2008, Portman served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury.
She played leading roles in the historical dramas Goya's Ghosts (2006) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and also appeared in Thor (2011) and its 2013 sequel.