Iconic Roles is a look at some of the best film and television performances by actors and actresses.
Scarlett Johansson turns 38 today. The two-time Oscar-nominated actress has mesmerized audiences with her acting skills since her debut in North in 1994. In recent years, she has gained worldwide popularity through her role as Natasha Romanoff, aka Widow Black, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her fan-favorite character also got her own 2021 Black Widow solo film, which coincidentally happens to be the actress’ last live-action credit. Fans can rejoice, however, as Johansson will return in Wes Anderson’s upcoming film Asteroid City and Apple Studios’ space race film Project Artemis.
Here is a list of some of Scarlett Johansson’s best dramas.
Charlotte in Lost in Translation (2003)
One of the first times Johansson really showed his potential was in Sofia Coppola’s second film, a tender love story between a veteran actor (Bill Murray) and doubtful Charlotte, a photographer’s young wife. Johansson played a very vulnerable character who moves around a luxury hotel in a hyper-realistic Tokyo, full of emptiness, alienation and absurdity. The then-rising actress also held her own with acting as Murray. Lost in Translation was later awarded Best Original Screenplay by the Academy.
Nola Rice in Match Point (2005)
For many years Johansson was a muse of Woody Allen. Their first collaboration, Match Point, spawned one of the sexiest characters of Johansson’s career. In short, the story follows a retired tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in love with a struggling actress (Johansson) who is dating her future brother-in-law (Matthew Goode). Match Point renewed Allen’s career and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the Academy. Allen and Johansson also worked on Scoop (2006) and the delightful story of the love triangle in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008).
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Samantha in It (2013)
One of Scarlett Johansson’s best drama films does not feature any scenes involving the physical presence of the much lauded actress. This was only possible thanks to the remarkable directorial work of Spike Jonze, the solid interpretation of Joaquin Phoenix and the warm and sensual voice of Johansson. The Oscar-winning story follows an introverted writer (Phoenix) who falls in love with an artificial intelligence called Samantha (Johansson). The cast also included Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde, but Johansson dominated her fellow actresses, if only with the sound of her voice.
Nicole Barber in Marriage Story (2019)
2019 was undoubtedly the year in which Johansson best demonstrated his artistic maturity. The New York-born actress has made a career of femme fatale roles, and with good reason. In Noah Baumbach’s story, she plays a vulnerable character on the verge of despair. For the occasion, she worked with rising Hollywood star Adam Driver as the duo acted like a couple whose marriage is falling apart. Driver and Johansson were nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively at the Oscars, but ultimately Laura Dern was the only actress to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. The cast also included Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty and Merritt Wever.
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Rosie Betzler in Jojo Rabbit (2019)
World War II stories generally share a message of hope, but often involve extreme sacrifices. The film follows Johannes, a child who goes through a critical moment in his life with the help of his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. Too bad his mother (Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their house. Johansson skillfully balanced moments of joy and tragedy as a single mother preparing her son for life’s challenges. Jojo Rabbit racked up six Academy Award nominations, including Johansson’s for Best Supporting Actress. Ultimately, the Academy snubbed Johansson’s efforts that year and the coveted award to Dern, Johansson’s co-star in Marriage Story.