Though Spike Jonze’s thoroughly modern love story, Her, has not yet opened in theaters, the film has played at a number of film festivals in recent weeks, racking up plenty of accolades along the way. (I caught the film at the New York Film Festival back in October, and it’s one of my favorite films of the year – and a highly emotional one to boot.)
The film centers on a lonely man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who quite unexpectedly falls in love with his new operating system – an intuitive combination of artificial intelligence and megawatt charm. It doesn’t hurt that the system, which calls itself Samantha, is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, who turns in a very full-bodied performance just by way of her voice. There are no tricks here – Samantha really is an operating system, and she never appears onscreen in any form (a Kindle Fire Mayday button commercial, this is not). Johansson’s work in the film has drawn notice, which of course means awards! season! chatter! given our current time period. Johansson has picked up one award so far, a Best Actress honor at the Rome Film Festival, and people are already wondering about her Oscar chances.
If Johansson did get an Oscar nomination, it would mark the first nod for voice-only work, but despite high hopes that might happen, we already know there’s one award Johansson won’t be winning – any kind of Golden Globe.
Variety reports that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has ruled that the actress is ineligible in the Best Supporting Actress category, presumably because she is never seen. The HFPA has, however, offered an olive branch – she is still eligible for her work in Don Jon.
Despite this disappointment, Johansson is still eligible for both the SAG Awards and the Oscars.
Her opens on December 18.
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