Scarlett Johansson's Oscar Shutout Is Karmic Retribution

The actress lost twice at the 2020 Oscars.
Alex Zaragoza
Brooklyn, US
Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson just lost twice in one night. The Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit star took home a total of zero Oscars, despite being nominated in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories. She is the twelfth person to be double nominated for an acting Oscar in the event's 92-year history, and the fourth double loser ever. Not gonna lie—it feels a bit like karmic retribution for being a real jerk.


Johansson has been on the receiving end of major criticism over her choices in roles and comments she's made regarding cultural correctness and appropriation. It started after she played the lead in the live action remake of the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell and followed it up with the announcement that she'd star in Rub & Tug, a biopic on the life of a trans man who ran a string of massage parlors in Pittsburgh in the 1970s. In a July 2019 interview with As If, the actress said "You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.” That did not go over well.

While the memes were fire, the backlash was warranted, especially considering the severe lack of opportunities for trans actors to play not just trans roles but cisgender roles as well. Cisgender actors not only get to play trans roles, but they're often rewarded for doing so. See: Eddie Redmayne's Best Actor Oscar nomination for The Danish Girl, Felicity Huffman's nod for her work in Transamerica, and Jared Leto's supporting actor win for Dallas Buyers Club.

Johansson responded by dropping out of Rub & Tug. She told Bustle, via her reps: "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." Later, she admitted to Vanity Fair that she "mishandled that situation." Ya think? She's also pro-Woody Allen despite the damning claims of sexual abuse against him, so that's another strike against her.

Johansson is a talented actress who has a superb command of her craft. She was excellent in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbbit. But Hollywood as a whole suffers from a severe lack of diversity, both on screen and behind the camera. Since 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign pushed forward the need to make representation a top priority, not just for people of color but for people of different abilities, genders, and sexual orientations. At the 2018 Oscars, Frances McDormand called for every one in the room to have "inclusion riders" in their contracts to help make real strides toward leveling out the Hollywood playing field. Joaquin Phoenix spoke out about racism at the BAFTAS. We need those in power to wield it when it comes to fighting for more inclusive hiring practices in Hollywood for real change to happen.