Apparently awards season gives with one hand and takes away with the other. In one of the season’s unlikelier stories, Scarlett Johansson has been building momentum with a performance in Her in which she is heard but never seen as the artificial intelligence of an operating system who becomes an emotional foil for a man (Joaquin Phoenix) in near-future Los Angeles. Written and directed by Spike Jonze, the film has a cast that also includes Rooney Mara, Amy Adams and Olivia Wilde.
Johansson recently won the the best actress prize at the Rome Film Festival. Yet starting with a report from Deadline Hollywood awards correspondent Pete Hammond, and then other organisations including Variety and Entertainment Weekly, word began to filter through Hollywood that the Golden Globes, which are put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, had deemed her ineligible for consideration in their acting categories. The actress is a four-time Globe nominee.
The performance is said to be considered eligible for both the Academy Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The issue of non-traditional performance has come up a number of times in recent years, as with Andy Serkis’s roles in the Lord of the Rings films and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as actress Zoe Saldana’s performance in Avatar.
In an interview with The Times, Johansson expressed uncertainty as to how her performance in Her would fit into the awards picture.
“I feel very disconnected from the awards process,” Johansson said. “I don’t even know how it works. And I’m an academy member! It seems like a political thing. It just seems like such an abstract thing. Probably as abstract as trying to fit my performance into any particular category.”