Darren Aronofsky has said Natalie Portman deserves an Oscar for her lead role in his new movie Black Swan - but played down his own chances during awards season.
Speaking at the UK premiere of the film at the BFI London Film Festival, Darren revealed Natalie spent a year preparing for her role as a ballerina.
He said: "I gave Natalie a good opportunity I think and she was cast well and she really did the work. She spent 12 months studying ballet and becoming a dancer.
"I think that physical workout really mentally got her there. She came to the set very, very prepared and she should do well because she was so easy to work with."
But he said he wasn't convinced he would win the Academy Award for Best Director.
"I make really dark, edgy films - they always scare way too many people," he smiled.
The Pi director also said audiences could draw comparisons between Natalie's alter-ego and Mickey Rourke's lead character in The Wrestler, which Darren also directed.
"There are a lot of connections. Both Natalie Portman and Mickey Rourke are performers that use their bodies to express their art. Age and injury are their enemy. I kind of like how different they were but there are connections between them," he said.
:: Black Swan will be released in the UK in February.