Scarlett Johansson’s Impressive Movie Career Led Her to ‘Black Widow’

Scarlett Johansson
David Edwards

I’m sure you recognize Scarlett Johansson from her years-long portrayal of Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or, perhaps you’ve heard that she was the highest-paid actress of 2019. There is no doubt that Scarlett has one of the most impressive careers in entertainment, as she is one of only 12 actors to have been nominated for two Academy Awards in the same year

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Let’s take a deep dive into Scarlett Johansson’s past projects to see what has led her to her role in the highly-anticipated Black Widow and how she’s earned her status as one of the top actors in Hollywood!

About Scarlett Johansson 

Scarlett Johansson was born in 1984 in Manhattan to parents Ejner Johansson, an architect, and Melanie Sloan, a producer. Scarlett Johansson has an older brother and sister, and a twin brother named Hunter. 

Growing up in New York City, Scarlett Johansson aspired to be an actress one day. Her first stage role came when she was only eight years old, her first film role when she was nine. She attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and Professional Children’s School, where many child actors studied. Fun fact: Scarlett Johansson dated singer, songwriter, and producer Jack Antonoff when the two attended PCS! 

While Scarlett Johansson was starring in blockbuster films, she gave birth to her daughter Rose Dorothy Dauriac in 2014. Scarlett met now-husband actor and comedian Colin Jost on the set of Saturday Night Live. The two began dating in 2017, became engaged in 2019, and got married in October 2020. It is rumored that the couple is expecting their first child together, though this has not been confirmed by Scarlett or Colin.

How Scarlett Johansson got her start in Hollywood 

When Scarlett Johansson attended school at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, she began auditioning for roles in commercials. She soon realized that she wanted to star in films and on stage. 

In 1994, Scarlett Johansson made her film debut with the comedy-drama North. Scarlett plays Laura, the daughter of John Ritter’s character Ward. She then starred as Kate in the 1995 crime thriller Just Cause and Emily in the 1996 rom-com If Lucy Fell. Scarlett Johansson landed her first lead film role in 1996 with Manny & Lo.

Scarlett Johansson’s music career 

What many people may not know about Scarlett Johansson is that she has had a years-long music career. Scarlett was featured on the 2006 compilation album Unexpected Dreams— Songs from the Stars where she sang “Summertime.” In 2007, she performed at Coachella with the Scottish band The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Scarlett Johansson’s debut album Anywhere I Lay My Head came out in 2008. She then released her album Break Up with Pete Yorn in 2009, and most recently, put out an EP with Pete Yorn called Apart in 2018. In 2015, Scarlett formed a band called the Singles with Haim’s Este Haim, Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, and Julia Haltigan. That year, the group released a single titled “Candy.”

Scarlett Johansson’s singing career has intersected with her acting. When she starred in He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), she played an aspiring singer. Scarlett also sang on the soundtracks for The Jungle Book (2016) and Sing (206), both in which she starred. 

Scarlett Johansson on Broadway 

Around the same time that Scarlett Johansson made her film acting debut, she starred in the off-Broadway play Sophistry alongside actor, writer, and director Ethan Hawke

In 2009, Scarlett Johansson made her Broadway debut in a revival of the one-act play A View from the Bridge, written by Arthur Miller. Scarlett starred alongside Liev Schreiber in this drama. In 2010, she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Scarlett Johansson also starred in the 2013 Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This play was written by Tennessee Williams originally starred Burl Ives and won a Pulitzer Prize.

Scarlett Johansson movies: Manny & Lo (1996) 

The 1996 comedy-drama Manny & Lo marked Scarlett Johansson’s first lead role in a feature film. Scarlett played Manny and starred alongside Aleksa Palladino (Lo) and Mary Kay Place (Elaine).

The film, directed by Lisa Krueger follows sisters Manny and Lo on their journeys running away from their foster homes. When Lo gets pregnant, they kidnap a baby store employee named Elaine to help them live on their own. 

In 1997, Scarlett Johansson was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. 

Manny & Lo is available to watch on Starz.

Scarlett Johansson movies: The Horse Whisperer (1998) 

Scarlett Johansson began to garner critical attention with her role in The Horse Whisperer. The Western drama was directed by Robert Redford (who also stars in the film) and is based on the 1995 novel of the same name. The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Sam Neill.

Scarlett Johansson plays Grace MacLean, a teenager who is severely injured in a horseback riding incident. Grace is then left with a partially amputated leg and has a hard time recovering emotionally from the incident. Her mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) then hires a horse whisperer (Robert Redford) who works to heal Grace and her horse, Pilgrim.

Scarlett Johansson received a Chicago Films Critics Association nomination for Most Promising Actress and a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film: Leading Young Actress. 

Scarlett Johansson movies: Lost in Translation (2003) 

Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Charlotte in the rom-com Lost in Translation was considered to be one of her first “adult” roles. Directed by Sofia Coppola, the film also stars Bill Murray, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anna Faris. 

Scarlett Johansson plays a recent college graduate who meets American actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray) while the two are visiting Tokyo. Both married, the two begin to bond when they meet each other at their hotel. They form an unlikely friendship and spend the remainder of their time in Tokyo together until Bob leaves the city.

The film won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards. Scarlett Johansson was nominated for a Golden Globe herself and took home multiple awards including a New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Supporting Actress, and a Venice Film Festival Upstream Prize for Best Actress.

Lost in Translation is available to watch on Starz

Scarlett Johansson movies: Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003) 

Scarlett Johansson starred in the drama Girl With a Pearl Earring as Griet. The film, directed by Peter Webber is based on the 1999 historical novel of the same name, which draws inspiration from the 1665 painting by Johannes Vermeer. The film also stars Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, and Judy Parfitt. 

Griet is a servant who is sent to work for Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). While working for the famed painter, Griet begins to receive painting lessons from him. As the two begin to form a relationship, Vermeer decides he will paint of picture of Griet wearing his daughter’s pearl earrings for one of his rich patrons. This causes tension between Vermeer’s daughter and the rest of the household and ends Griet’s time working for Vermeer.

Scarlett Johansson was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the film. She received a Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award and a Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star Award for her work in both Girl With a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation.

Scarlett Johansson movies: Marvel Cinematic Universe (2010-present) 

Scarlett Johansson first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Widow in the 2010 film Iron Man 2. She has since gone on to star in seven more Marvel movies and is loved as the only female ‘OG Avenger.’ 

When fans first met Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) in Iron Man 2 Scarlett Johansson made a grand entrance, disguising herself as Tony Stark’s (Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr.) personal assistant before she reveals her true identity. Throughout the MCU, Natasha has served as a leading figure in the storyline, often helping to unite the Avengers. 

Scarlett Johansson has undoubtedly delivered stellar performances and amazing action sequences in each Marvel film she has starred in. While her character has a tough exterior, we have also seen her be more vulnerable in films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Endgame

In a 2010 interview with, Scarlett Johansson shared what her experience was like playing Black Widow for the first time. 

Scarlett Johansson has received numerous awards nominations for her work in the MCU including Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Endgame

Watch Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in the MCU on Disney+

Scarlett Johansson movies: Under the Skin (2013) 

Scarlett Johansson starred in the 2013 science fiction film Under the Skin, which was based on the 2000 novel of the same name. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, the film features Scarlett in the lead role, and she is the only notable actor in the film. 

The film takes place in Scotland where Scarlett Johansson depicts a supernatural woman who seduces and hunts men. The film was partly improvised and shot using hidden cameras, according to UPROXX. The outlet reported that some of the people who appeared in the film had never acted before. 

Scarlett Johansson was nominated for several Best Actress awards for her work in this film including a British Independent Film Award and a Chicago Film Critics Association Award. 

Check out the movie trailer:

Under the Skin is available to watch on Showtime

Scarlett Johansson movies: Lucy (2014) 

Scarlett Johansson played the titular character in the 2014 sci-fi action film Lucy. Directed by Luc Besson, the movie also stars Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked, and Julian Rhind-Tutt. 

Scarlett Johansson’s character Lucy is a 25-year-old studying in Taipei, Taiwan who is tricked into working as a drug mule. During a dangerous drug delivery, Lucy has a large quantity of CPH4 enter her system, which causes her to gain supernatural physical and mental abilities like telepathy and the ability not to feel pain. Lucy then teams up with Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) to learn more about her current condition. 

In 2014, Scarlett Johansson sat down with to talk about her experience playing Lucy.

In 2015, Scarlett Johansson received an MTV Movie & TV Award nomination for Best Female Performance and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award nomination for Best Actress in an Action Movie. 

Check out the movie trailer:

Scarlett Johansson movies: Marriage Story (2019) 

Scarlett Johansson starred alongside Adam Driver in the 2019 drama Marriage Story. Directed by Noah Baumbach, the film follows couple Nicole (Scarlett) and Charlie Barber through their divorce. The film also stars Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, and Julie Hagerty. 

In his review of the Marriage Story, The New York Times A.O. Scott called Scarlett Johansson’s and Adam Driver’s performances “simply extraordinary.” He said, “They are perfectly matched, which is to say interestingly mismatched, given the trajectory of the story. Each one has a charisma that’s a little mysterious, a hint of Cubism in their faces, an undertone of irony in their voices.

Marriage Story had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019. The film won Best Feature at the 2019 Gotham Independent Film Awards and was named one of the Top 10 Films of 2019 by the American Film Institute. Scarlett Johansson received both an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her work in the film. She won multiple awards for her portrayal of Nicole, including a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. 

Check out the movie trailer:

Marriage Story is available to watch on Netflix

Scarlett Johansson movies: Jojo Rabbit (2019) 

Scarlett Johansson starred in the 2019 comedy-drama Jojo Rabbit alongside her Marvel co-star Taika Waititi, who also wrote and directed the film. Jojo Rabbit also stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. The satirical movie was adapted from the 2008 book Caging Skies by Christine Leunen. 

Jojo Rabbit takes place during the fall of Nazi Germany where a young boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) joins the youth organization of the Nazi Party. Jojo is brainwashed by Nazi ideals and creates an imaginary friend version of Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi) who follows him throughout the movie. Jojo doesn’t know that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is secretly anti-Nazi and is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie). When Jojo learns this, he grapples with choosing between his loyalty to the Nazi party or his friendship with Elsa. 

Jojo Rabbit had its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the People’s Choice Award. 

In 2019, Scarlett Johansson told Entertainment Weekly that being a mother helped her to get into the character of Rosie: 

Being a parent myself was just invaluably helpful to me. I had empathy for Rosie’s plate that I may not have had insight on otherwise. She was just a joy to play. She’s a warm, lovable character that felt really comfy to me.

Scarlett Johansson received a number of award nominations for her work in Jojo Rabbit. This included an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. 

Check out the movie trailer:

Jojo Rabbit is available to watch on Cinemax.

Scarlett Johansson movies: Black Widow (2021) 

After multiple pushed-back release dates, Black Widow is finally out in theaters! This thrilling film gives Marvel fans more insight into Natasha Romanoff’s (Black Widow) little-known background, and we finally get to meet her family. The movie takes place in 2016, between the events of Captain American: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). 

In a behind-the-scenes featurette shown in theaters before screenings of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson said, “I’ve spent a decade of time with this character and she’s finally able to write her own story.”

Scarlett Johansson shines in this long-overdue lead role, delivering a fierce performance and emphasizing why fans everywhere love her as Natasha. Black Widow also stars Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz. The connection that Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh have onscreen is truly heartwarming and enhances the emotional depth of Scarlett’s character.

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Scarlett Johansson also executive produced Black Widow, which was directed by Cate Shortland. When asked by Ryan Seacrest if this is the last we’ll see of her as Black Widow, Scarlett said, “I think I’m ready to hang up my batons… I really feel like I’ve had such an amazing run and I’d like to go out on a high.”

Check out the movie trailer: 

Black Widow is available to watch on Disney+. Read writer Tommy McArdle’s review of the film here.

Scarlett Johansson voice roles 

Audiences have seen Scarlett Johansson stun in countless live-action movie roles. What many may not know is that she has lended her voice to a number of characters, as well!

Scarlett Johansson’s first voice role came in 2004 when she played Princess Mindy in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. She then voiced an artificial intelligence virtual assistant named Samantha in the 2013 sci-fi rom-com Her, for which she won multiple awards. 

In 2016, Scarlett Johansson played Kaa the snake in Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book. She voiced the character Nutmeg in the 2018 film Isle of Dogs, directed by Wes Anderson. Scarlett also provided the voice for aRobert Redford singing porcupine named Ash in the Illumination-animated film Sing (2016). She reprised her role for the film’s sequel, set to release in December 2021.

Check out the Sing 2 trailer:

Scarlett Johansson’s other ventures

Women’s Wear Daily recently reported that Scarlett Johansson will be releasing a beauty line in early 2022. Scarlett told Allure,I created this brand to elevate clean, essential skincare. This will be a brand for everyone who wants their skin to look its best with minimal effort.”

Scarlett Johansson also has a history of advocating for women’s issues. In a 2009 essay titled “The Skinny,” Scarlett discusses the societal pressures placed on women to look a certain way and live a specific lifestyle. She talked about her own struggles with the public image of her body and emphasized how toxic some media outlets can be in perpetuating ‘skinny’ culture. 

In 2018, Scarlett Johansson showed her support for Time’s Up to support victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Scarlett spoke at the Los Angeles Women’s March and donated to the Time’s Up legal fund

Why others love Scarlett Johansson

Movie fans of all genres are constantly showing love for Scarlett Johansson on social media. 

One Twitter user noted that Scarlett has the amazing ability to emote in a way that makes the audience truly believe her.

This fan even said that Scarlett’s acting makes them feel the emotions that her characters are experiencing.

One account said that Scarlett Johansson was meant to play Black Widow and said that they are proud of what she’s done for the character.

This fan said that Scarlett Johansson is arguably the best actress in Hollywood. 

All of this great work might have you wondering what’s next for Scarlett Johansson. Well, she will reportedly produce an upcoming Disney film based on the Disney Parks ride Tower of Terror! Until we learn more about this project, we’ll be admiring Scarlett’s talent by binging all of the films in her extensive portfolio. 

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