opinion news

Why was Scarlett Johansson awarded 'Best Actress' in a film she's not in?

Rome Film Festival makes controversial choice

Scarlett Johansson was awarded 'Best Actress' at this year's Rome Film Festival in a film she doesn't appear in.

In Spike Jonze's 'Her', Scarlett Johansson plays the voice of a computer operating system but is not physically present throughout the movie. Although the actress has a formidable voice, and a unique style that I greatly admire, it's quite difficult to understand how this award can be fair.

With other performers competing in this category, and physically present on-screen, how can a voiceover be judged above the rest? What makes the decision even more questionable is the fact that Italian audiences will never hear her voice, due to the film being dubbed. What does that say about Italian cinema? "Let's reward great performances in films that we will never hear or see when they come out in Italy?"

I can understand the nuance of this role being particularly noteworthy, but I just feel that it doesn't give other performers an equal chance because after all, the art of acting, is not solely based on the projection of your voice, it's about performance, presence and emotion, something I think is particularly important in Italy.

If It were me, I would be awarding an editing prize for making the voice over work come across so well in the film as a character, and bringing out Johansson's best qualities. But when it comes to acting…it would only be fair to put this award in a different category…or make the rules of the category far clearer so that there is equal opportunity for voice over artists and actors to compete in the same arena.

'Her' 2013 Trailer

Find out more about the film here

film industry network members