There is no one more suited to be the godmother of the 2023 Trophée Chopard than Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman. Having begun her acting career at the age of 12, Portman understands—perhaps better than anyone else—the importance of having talent recognised and cultivated from a young age. Now, almost 30 years later, the screen icon is the perfect candidate to pass that on to a new generation of rising young stars.
Presented by Chopard to two emerging actors each year at the Cannes Film Festival, the Trophée Chopard cements the Swiss luxury house’s commitment to encouraging the rising talents of the film industry. The trophy—thoughtfully designed by artistic director and co-president Caroline Scheufele—is a work of art. Meticulously crafted by Chopard’s high jewellery artisans, it features a silver-coated gold film reel atop a glass base.
This year, the laureates were award-winning actress Naomi Ackie and Irish actor Daryl McCormack. As godmother, Portman presented them with the award at a dinner hosted by Chopard. Dialling in from Cannes a few days later, the actress looks back on her career thus far and opens up on what it means to her to be a part of Chopard’s efforts in recognising young talent in the industry.
How did you feel when you were named godmother of the Trophée Chopard?
I was so excited to get the chance to honour these rising talents who are so extraordinary and whom I already admired before. It’s exciting to be at that point in my career where I can encourage other actors and support their rise.
What does the Trophée Chopard mean to you?
The Trophée Chopard has had an incredible history of spotting talent who then become legends and icons later on, so it’s exciting to see Darrell and Naomi at this point and know that they’ll give us incredible gems on screen in the years to come.
Which is your favourite piece from Chopard?
The sapphire necklace that I got to wear at Cannes was extraordinary. I was really just so lucky to get to wear it.
As someone who began their acting career at a young age, what do you think is the importance of early recognition and encouragement of talent?
It’s really important to be in a community where you have other artists to talk to, to ask questions and to help guide you along the way. Acting is an unusual career path, and most people don’t come from families that have the same experience. Early recognition can help to create that network, which is very valuable.
What was your best or favourite memory as a young actress?
It was on the set of Léon: The Professional, which was my first film. I turned 12 and the cast and crew surprised me in the middle of a scene. There was confetti coming down and I remember it being so much fun. That was a really big memory for me.
What advice do you have for young actors at the start of their career?
They should always pay attention to their personal life, especially when they’re working a lot, because that remains the most important thing.
What’s your favourite role to date and why?
I loved playing former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie. She was such an incredible woman with so much wit and a wonderful sense of humour. It was amazing to have the chance to portray her resilience.
Besides being an actress, you’re also a producer. What are some challenges you’ve faced when producing and what do you enjoy most about it?
The challenge with being both an actor and a producer is having to go back and forth between the roles. As an actor, you have to be creative, but as a producer, you also have to be the one who’s in charge of fixing things when they go wrong. But the most rewarding thing about producing is getting the chance to create and nurture people’s artistic visions and to have the freedom to create the projects I want to make.
What are some social causes that you hold close to your heart?
Women’s liberation is central to everything I care about. That obviously takes many forms, whether it’s empowering women who are coming out of incarceration—that’s been a big focus of mine—or abortion rights post-Roe in the US. Those issues are very dear to my heart.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
May December, which premiered at Cannes, will be released later this year, and I have a series, Lady in the Lake, that will be coming out early next year.