2014 has been a big year for Scarlett Johansson.
It didn’t begin all that positively, though, with the actress drawing heat for her association with soda water company, Sodastream, whose headquarters are based in Israel, specifically the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Boycotts of the product damaged both Johansson and Sodastream’s reputations, leading the actress to resign from her position as an ambassador for Oxfam in order to appear in the company’s Superbowl commercial. Get your priorities in check, girl.
Another stance Johansson took that arguably damaged her reputation in the eyes of many was her defence of Woody Allen who, earlier this year, had child molestation charges against him resurface. Johansson said about Allen’s daughter’s allegations, in which she called out Johansson and other actors associated with her alleged abuser, “I think it’s irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me.”
Irresponsible isn’t the word I’d use, but I digress.
Johansson attempted to smooth over her feminist faux pas by designing a line of t-shirts for Planned Parenthood in August.
And finally, before we get to the work she’s actually known for—acting—Johansson demonstrated her assertiveness in an interview in Glamour’s May issue in which she laments the nickname ScarJo:
“I associate that name with, like, pop stars… It sounds tacky. It’s lazy and flippant…There’s something insulting about it.”
Perhaps Johansson’s biggest film this year was Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which she reprises her Marvel universe role of Natasha Romanoff or The Black Widow. But her most creatively satisfying projects, at least from the audience’s viewpoint, weren’t as big budget as The Winter Soldier.
While both Her and Under the Skin were released in the U.S. last year, they made their Australian big screen debuts in 2014, and both films were a departure of sorts from Johansson’s usual fare. The sexy husky voice Johansson has become known for was the star of Spike Jonze’s Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore, falls in love with his artificial operating system, voiced by Johansson. The film was a different kind of romantic comedy that spliced futuristic sci-fi into the mix.
Speaking of sci-fi, Under the Skin is certainly an otherworldly experience that leaves the viewer unsettled. For those who haven’t seen it, Johansson plays an alien who seduces men off the street, the reasons for which are unclear. You may remember controversy surrounding the reality-based filming that left audiences unsure of who was an actor and whom Johansson actually accosted on the streets of Scotland. It is also one of the films in which Johansson bares her naked body, but sexy, it is anything but.
The film for which Johansson garnered the most buzz, though, was probably Lucy, another sci-fi action flick about what happens when we use parts of our brains that are usually dormant that kicked butt at the box office. Like Frozen, Maleficent and The Hunger Games, Johansson is helping to prove that action films and blockbusters starring women can make bank.
While Johansson was a prominent fixture at the cinema this year, she also had a banner year personally. Johansson and her partner, Romain Dauriac, welcomed baby girl Rose Dorothy in September.
Beyonce will probably make many of the year-end lists but we can’t forget the prevalence of Johansson in pop culture this year. I certainly haven’t.
Related: The Year of Beyonce.