Scarlett Johansson is the highest-grossing female star of all time and a two-time Oscar nominee, and Tony Award, and BAFTA winner. She’s appeared in many movies, forging a strong and respectable career as a respectable and versatile actress.
Scarlett Johansson is, no doubt, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Her role as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe propelled her into superstardom, yet it wasn’t her breakthrough. Indeed, by the time she first wore the Widow’s catsuit, Johansson was already proven box-office draw. It’s impossible to diminish the effect that the MCU had on her career. However, it would be equally wrong to reduce her filmography to just the role of Natasha Romanoff, especially when several other choices helped turn her into the star she is today.
10 Natasha Is Best: A Nuanced Character
Natasha is not only a strong and capable character but more importantly, she’s vulnerable and flawed. She’s allowed to make mistakes, try and experiment with new things, and make her own path within the Marvel universe.
She goes beyond being just an idea or accessory in other people’s stories. Instead, she’s a fully-fledged character, who is, despite some missteps along the way, almost always given the same degree of importance as her male equivalents.
9 Nicole Is Best: Recognition, At Last!
With the release of Marriage Story, Johansson received the best reviews of her career. She not only garnered acclaim from critics but also a plethora of nominations, including one for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Johansson had been Oscar-worthy in other films, mainly Lost in Translation and the criminally underrated Under the Skin, so seeing her get her first nomination was indeed something.
Marriage Story also allows Johansson to explore and embrace the fully dramatic side of her career. She gets to play a complicated and at times confusing character, that she always manages to imbue with compassion and understanding, creating a truly natural and honest portrayal that ranks as one of her finest.
8 Natasha Is Best: Forging The Path
Natasha Romanoff was definitely one of the first women of importance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As time went by, Marvel increased its female characters’ presence (yet it’s still sorely lacking in that department), but Natasha will always be remembered as the first female lead of the universe.
This will forever mark her importance.
7 Lucy Is Best: Bonafide Action Star
With the release of Lucy, Johansson cemented her place as an action star. Directed by Luc Besson and co-starring Morgan Freeman, the film follows the title character, a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities thanks to a drug that enters her bloodstream.
Heavily stylized and more than a little farfetched, Lucy received polarizing reviews, but even the negative takes praised Johansson’s charm and dominion of the screen. The film was a huge box-office success, making it one of Johansson’s most successful non-MCU films.
6 Natasha Is Best: Non-powered Superhero
Natasha’s lack of powers or abilities never prevented her from getting the job done. In fact, in every single team movie, the Widow does just as much as any of her enhanced teammates, never once complaining or asking for a time out.
In The Avengers, she’s the one that closes the portal, making her way up to the top of Stark Tower with almost no help. In Age of Ultron, she steals the Regeneration Cradle, preventing Ultron from uploading himself into the synthetic body. And of course, she makes the ultimate sacrifice in Endgame, becoming the literal embodiment of “Whatever it takes.”
5 The Female Is Best: It Showed Her Range
Under the Skin has to be. without a doubt, Johansson’s most daring and provocative film to date. Haunting and thought-provoking, the film tells the story of an extraterrestrial being who preys on men in Scotland. With stunning visuals and an elusive albeit seductive and bold message, the film is a true cinematic experience that proves irresistible and unforgettable.
Johansson garnered acclaim for her performance, with critics calling her mesmerizing and hypnotic. Indeed, the actress bravely throws herself at the role, showing a disturbing and powerful side to her abilities that she has yet to display again.
4 Natasha Is Best: A Multi-Movie Arc
Throughout her many appearances in the MCU, pieces and bits of Natasha’s backstory are revealed, providing Johansson with plenty of material to draw from.
From her first appearance up until Endgame, Natasha’s arc is one of redemption and self-discovery. By connecting with and becoming a leading figure within the Avengers, Natasha not only atones for the crimes of her past, she learns who she is and her role in the world, beyond just being a spy or assassin. And Johansson gets to portray every emotion in the book, further proving her talent as an actress.
3 Samantha Is Better: Million Dollar Voice
Scarlett Johansson’s voice has always been one of her most characteristic traits. Raspy and deep, it has a sultry and captivating quality that’s been fascinating audiences for a long time. The voice is in full display in Spike Jonze’s romantic sci-fi Her, in which Johansson voices an artificially intelligent virtual assistant who enters into a relationship with a lonely man.
Her earned Johansson rave reviews, with critics praising the amount of feeling and gravitas she injected into the story by using only her voice. The film itself earned acclaim and five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Several critics considered Johansson’s work Oscar-worthy, but she failed to get a nomination.
2 Natasha Is Best: A Noble Sacrifice
Avengers: Endgame features the death of not one but two major characters. Tony Stark of course gets all the attention and the big, lavish funeral, but Natasha’s sacrifice is equally powerful and meaningful. Her entire arc arguably leads to that very point, a way to finally wipe out the red in her ledger for the good of mankind.
Her death comes midway into the movie and is easily one of the defining moments of the Infinity Saga. By giving her life, Natasha finally comes full-circle, proving she always was the hero she desperately wanted to be. And while the film ultimately does a disservice to the character by unintentionally minimizing her death, it’s no less tragic, or impactful, for her many fans worldwide.
1 Charlotte Is Better: Nothing Beats A Breakthrough
Johansson made waves thanks to her role in the cult hit Ghost World. However, it was her performance as a young, neglected wife in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation that launched her career and showed the world just what a capable actress she truly was.
Johansson won the 2004 BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and was nominated for her first Golden Globe Award. Many critics believed she’d be nominated for the Oscar along with her co-star, Bill Murray, but she ultimately failed to get the nomination. Still, Johansson’s performance got her into Hollywood’s A-list and she’s been unstoppable ever since.