Scarlett Johansson has been acting on the big screen for more than 25 years. Yet, the actress just wrapped up perhaps her most pivotal year so far. On a personal level, Johansson got engaged to Saturday Night Live‘s Colin Jost in 2019. But professionally, she starred in three very different and very successful films.
Now, after such a long period within the industry, the star of such hits as Lost in Translation and Lucy has earned her very first Academy Award nominations. So, even after the epic year Johansson had in 2019, could she really be poised to kick off 2020 as a newly minted Oscar winner? Let’s investigate.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ and her decade-long arc
Before we get to Johansson’s two Oscar-nominated performances, we have to discuss her pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame. Of course, she first appeared as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in 2010’s Iron Man 2. And since then, Johansson has been one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest pillars.
With roles in six previous Marvel films, Johansson’s arc has been one of the most prominent. So Avengers: Endgame needed to give Black Widow her due, especially as it marked a conclusion of sorts for the original Avengers line-up. Some fans are still debating whether the film did the character justice.
Nevertheless, Johansson delivered a standout performance, and Black Widow’s story directly impacted how the story played out. Plus, now the actress can add the biggest box office hit of all time — with $2.8 billion worldwide — to her resume. And she’s still getting her long-awaited Black Widow movie. Not too shabby.
Scarlett Johansson earned dual Oscar nominations
Yet, while Avengers: Endgame proved to be a commercial and critical success, it failed to get much awards attention. Despite Disney’s efforts, the film only received an Oscar nomination for its visual effects. Johansson, however, still found her way onto the nominations. Twice.
Critics hailed her performance as Nicole Barber in writer/director Noah Baumbach’s domestic drama Marriage Story among her best work. So few were surprised when Johansson and co-star Adam Driver were among the Best Actor and Actress nominees. Both stars brought such intensity and emotion to the story of a marriage falling apart.
Yet, Johansson received a surprise second nomination. Jojo Rabbit had been positioned as a potential Oscar player for Best Picture, its screenplay, or perhaps Best Director. But few insiders expected Johansson’s tender performance as Rosie Betzler to make the Best Supporting Actress cut. The actress brings warmth and depth as a mother dealing with her son’s (Roman Griffin Davis) Nazi fanaticism.
Is Scarlett Johansson destined to be an Oscar winner?
Johansson might have just gone from never receiving an Oscar nomination to becoming a double nominee. However, her chances of actually winning in either Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress are slim. In both categories, the frontrunners appear to be pretty firmed up.
For Best Actress, Renee Zellweger has been steadily scooping up most of the other trophies this awards season for her performance in Judy. And if the category has a dark horse candidate, then Little Women‘s Saoirse Ronan is more likely to deliver an upset than Johansson. Then again, the strong support for Marriage Story — which received six nominations — could be a good sign.
Ironically enough, Johanssson will probably lose the Best Supporting Actress award to her Marriage Story co-star Laura Dern. The category is the best chance Baumbach’s movie has to take an award, and Dern — a three-time nominee and industry veteran — feels overdue for some Oscar love. At least Jojo Rabbit is looking likely to win Best Adapted Screenplay for writer/director Taika Waititi.
Of course, all this remains speculative. We won’t know for sure whether Johansson takes home an Oscar until the 92nd Academy Awards air on Feb. 9, 2020 on ABC.