Could Scarlett Johansson Win an Academy Award Strictly For Her Voice?

Posted by David Konow

Even though the Academy Awards won’t be held until March 2, there’s already plenty of Oscar pundits trying to predict who could win. And one performance has already brought up some interesting questions because in the case of Scarlett Johansson in Her, she’s never seen, and only heard.

Her is the latest movie from Spike Jonze where Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the artificial intelligence voice on his computer. Variety noted that if Johansson’s vocal performance wins the Academy award, she could indeed make history, and that Oscar voters “need to consider ‘Her’ performance.” But could this be too much of a left field choice for Academy voters? 
 
This kind of debate was brought up last year with Andy Serkis and his motion capture performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There are certainly many who wouldn’t consider motion capture acting, but we would argue it would probably be even harder to get a good performance when doing motion capture, much like it’s harder to act under heavy make-up. 
 
The L.A. Times also brought up an interesting point that this is what happened with The Artist in reverse. In that instance, a silent movie swept the Academy Awards in 2012, but here a performance is all sound and no image. So we’ll see if all this current Oscar campaigning will win Johansson the award or not. It would certainly break new ground, and hey, maybe Andy Serkis will be taken more seriously next time around. (Could Benedict Cumberbatch also catch an Oscar nod for playing a motion capture dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug?)