Much to the dismay of disembodied voices everywhere, the Hollywood Foreign Press has decided Scarlett Johansson’s vocal performance in Spike Jonze’s new movie, Her, will not be eligible for a supporting actress nomination. Entertainment Weekly reported the “breaking news” from a “source close to the submission process.”
The movie—which opens December 18—centers around Joaquin Phoenix as a timid man who lives in the near future and falls in love with the artificial intelligence program organizing his life—the inevitable conclusion of those Samuel L. Jackson Siri commercials. Johansson voices the app, and although she never appears onscreen, she brings to life one of the film’s most crucial characters.
The announcement speaks to a larger question about the nature of voice acting: Does a performer do less by turning in only a vocal performance and not a physical one? Or do the limitations actually inspire better performances from actors who are able to deliver emotional character work through their voices alone?
Interestingly, both the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences and the Screen Actors Guild have deemed her work eligible for a supporting award. While the Golden Globes usually bills itself as the lighter, more festive event of the awards season, it’s coming across as a conservative stickler in this debate. Given the advances in motion capture that allow Andy Serkis to continue to turn in a masterful performance as Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films, perhaps it’s high time these various awards ceremonies started awarding the best performances of the year, visual, vocal, or otherwise.