Is this finally Scarlett Johansson‘s year to win an Oscar? Perhaps the answer lies in the eerie parallels to Julianne Moore‘s scenario in 2002.
She’s nominated for Academy Awards in the leading and supporting acting categories. Both are for acclaimed films with multiple nods. She plays a wife. She plays a mother. There’s debate as to which performance is more award-worthy. And she’s likely to lose twice.
Is this Scarlett Johansson this year? Or Julianne Moore in 2002?
There are some eerie parallels between the predicaments of ScarJo and JuMo.
Seventeen years ago, Moore was Golden Globe-nominated for Best Actress in Motion Picture – Drama for her role as a conflicted wife in “Far from Heaven.” She lost to Nicole Kidman in “The Hours,” who played a real person (Virginia Woolf) and was physically transformed onscreen (notably with that prosthetic nose.)
This year, Johansson was Globe-nominated in the same category for her role as an unfulfilled wife in “Marriage Story.” She lost to Renee Zellweger in “Judy,” who also played a real individual (Judy Garland) and was similarly transformed with prosthetic makeup.
Moore went to the SAG Awards as a triple contender. In addition to her leading bid for “Heaven,” she competed for Supporting Actress for her portrayal of an unhappy wife and mother in “The Hours.” The film also earned Moore a bid as a member of Best Cast in a Motion Picture. A few hours later, she left the show empty-handed – largely due to a “Chicago” sweep. Zellweger took Best Actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones claimed Best Supporting Actress, and the large “Chicago” ensemble danced away with Best Cast.
Johansson was a three-time nominee at the most recent SAG ceremony. In addition to her Best Actress bid for “Marriage Story,” her part as a sympathetic mother in “Jojo Rabbit” brought her a Supporting Actress nomination, as well as a spot in Best Cast. It was a bit of déjà vu, with Renee taking the lead prize again. Meanwhile, ScarJo lost for “Jojo” to her own lawyer – Laura Dern in “Marriage Story.” (As if the legal fees weren’t bad enough.) And “Rabbit” was outrun by “Parasite,” which stole the top prize.
When Moore attended the 75th Academy Awards as a double nominee, she was viewed as a dark horse in both races. Not surprisingly, she finished behind both Kidman and Catherine. Her biggest glory was the rousing ovation she received while presenting the Oscars for Sound Editing and Mixing. Back to the present, it sounds like Johansson is positioned to be this year’s Julianne. If she loses to Zellweger and Dern as predicted in Gold Derby’s official odds, she’ll wind up just like Moore. (And in this case, Moore means less.)
It’s interesting to note that Johansson’s “Marriage Story” will fail her, while delivering for Dern. It’s the same way that “The Hours” gave Kidman her Oscar moment, but not a minute for Moore. And it’s Zellweger who beats Scarlett this time, just as Zellweger’s “Chicago” screen rival Zeta-Jones defeated Julianne.
But there should remain some joy for Johansson. She’s only the 12th person in Oscar history to be nominated in both acting categories in the same year. So she’s part of a most dynamic dozen. And while Moore had to wait a dozen years, she did finally win the Oscar for 2014’s “Still Alice.”
Here’s hoping that Johansson ends up just like Julianne.
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