Actress' performance in sci-fi romance 'Her' has thrilled critics, but can she set Oscars precedent?
SCARLETT JOHANSSON is set to make history by being nominated for an acting Oscar for a role in which she doesn't appear on screen.
The 28-year-old actor has wowed critics with her performance as Samantha in Her, the latest film by US director Spike Jonze. Johansson plays Samantha, a sophisticated software program that communicates using a synthetic voice.
"Think of Apple's Siri function, then add years and years of technical evolution, then put Blade Runner into the back of your mind, and you're close to what we see in Spike Jonze's Her," writes Jack de Aguilar on Contactmusic.com.
Her, which also stars Joaquin Pheonix as a man who falls in love with Samantha, has been a critics' favourite since it made its debut at the Rome Film Festival last week. Johansson was confirmed as a serious Oscars contender after winning Rome's best actress award for the voice-only role.
Variety's Tim Gray says "there's no precedent" for an actor who doesn't appear on screen being nominated for an acting Oscar. But he says Johansson deserves recognition and it's time to "dump some old notions" about acting.
"Let's abolish the idea that an actor needs to be seen on camera in order to give a 'real' performance," he writes. "Scarlett Johansson creates a full character in Her so she should be seriously considered for supporting actress."
Gray says that some Hollywood commentators worry that if Johansson is nominated it will "open the floodgates and the next step would be nominations for voice actors in animated films".
That shouldn't be a concern, he says. If Ellen DeGeneres had been nominated for her voice work in Finding Nemo, or Eddie Murphy had got the nod for voicing Shrek, "civilization would have survived and some talented artists would have received their due recognition".
Gray continues: "It's the 21st century, gang! And, whether the actor's face is seen or not, a terrific performance will endure. So why not recognize the accomplishment?"
The nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards are announced on 16 January. A UK release date for Her has not been announced.
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