Today is Scarlett Johansson's birthday, which means we're all watching marthons of her movies, right? I guess it's too bad she was born on the anniversary of JFK's assassination, since everyone's watching commemorative films related to that today instead. But that just means you'll have to spend the weekend honoring the actress as she turns 29 by revisiting her best work. Instead of naming her top three best performances or top three best movies, though, this time we're splitting it up. We want to know her best role or character, her best performance and her best movie.
If that seems confusing, think of it this way: we all love her character in Ghost World, as written, designed and acted. But is it nearly her best performance? Does it come anywhere close to her work in less likable roles, such as her Golden Globe-nominated performance in A Love Song for Bobby Long? Same goes for Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Great character, but great performance? Hardly. As for best movie, should we include stuff like the documentaries Chasing Ice, where she merely provides an Oscar-nominated song performance, and The Whale, which she produced with ex-husband Ryan Reynolds?
As for those of you who've had the opportunity to see Her already, would you count that when considering the best performance slot? That is something being discussed now regarding her chances for her first Academy Award for acting. In Her, she never appears on-screen, as she plays the part of an operating system -- meaning its strictly a vocal perforamance. The critical favor is strong for her qualification, though won't that open up complications as to whether or not animated-film voice performances can be nominated? Would that be the gateway for someone like Andy Serkis to be nominated for a performance-capture role?
Anyway, chew on all that and spew out your picks below.
First, here are my picks:
Her Best Role: Birdy Abundas, The Man Who Wasn't There
Merely going by the role, it's hard for me to deny one written by the Coen brothers, especially with Birdy sort of fitting in this amalgam of postwar motifs as a "Lolita" figure (Nabokov's book is a favorite). Johansson also looks good in black and white, but everybody does here.
Her Best Performance: Charlotte, Lost in Translation
I've never been a huge fan of this movie, but I have to admit Johannson is really good in it. And by really good, I mostly mean she seems and sounds natural, which isn't the case in a majority of her movies. I haven't seen Her yet, but if she's really amazing she must not be trying really hard, which I think is often her downfall. Perhaps she was more comfortable not being in front of the camera.
Her Best Movie: The Prestige
Ironicaly, I tend to forget she's even in this movie. I don't particularly like her performance in it, nor her role. But I do love the movie itself, as much as everytime I get frustrated with the way it ends. It's just otherwise crafted so perfectly that it's definitely the movie featuring Johnsson I've seen the most times.
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