Two-time Oscar nominee Scarlett Johansson. It’s a perfect fit, as one of the actor’s finest performances was lending her voice to the AI system in Spike Jonze’s Her. But the actor has proven herself adept at a wide variety of genres, and we take a look at her 5 best performances over the years.
Ghost World (2001)
Johansson was a teenager herself when she broke through in Terry Zwigoff’s offbeat depiction of disaffected youth, based on the Daniel Clowes comic. Her pitch-perfect performance as Rebecca Doppelmeyer announced the arrival of a major new talent, and was just the precursor for a series of fascinating choices and complex roles to follow.
Saturday Night Live (2006 )
With a Tony Award and Oscar noms, Johansson is on her way to an EGOT, but she’s already a member of an exclusive enclave — Saturday Night Live’s Five-Timers Club. In fact, she’s hosted six times, in addition to making occasional cameos, since 2006. She truly is family — she’s married to Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost — and always up for anything.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Johansson earned her first (and simultaneously second) Oscar nomination for Taika Waititi’s surreal comedy-drama, about a young boy in the Hitler Youth whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. Playing a woman with many secrets, there are layers upon layers of complexity in every scene as she struggles to put up a patriotic front while also trying to raise a caring son. Waititi has a very specific style and Johansson absolutely meshes into his world as the boy’s tough and loving mother.
Marriage Story (2019)
There isn’t a false note in Johansson’s Oscar-nominated performance as Nicole, one half of the couple at the center of Noah Baumbach’s gutting take on marriage and divorce. She more than holds her own against a powerhouse like Adam Driver, playing her ex-husband Charlie, and her lovely monologue to her divorce attorney about the dissolution of their relationship is some of her finest, most heartfelt work. Your sympathies and alliances may veer all over the place during the course of the film, but that’s the power of great writing matched with the perfect actors.
The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
If one had to pick Johansson’s best turns as super-spy Natasha Romanoff, it wouldn’t necessarily be her first appearance in Iron Man 2 or her standalone movie Black Widow. Though an ensemble film, it’s hard to top her appearance in The Avengers — where she first appears as a woman in peril, only to reveal she is really the one interrogating her captors. She shines in scenes with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, getting to show her brains and brawn. And for an emotional wallop, you can’t beat her emotional sacrifice in the finale, Avengers: Infinity War.