Christopher Althouse provides this analysis:
The thing about Johansson, at least when it comes to her personas in Ghost World and Lost In Translation, is that a big part of her appeal is that her technique is very minimal. You're supposed to be able to see a lot of thought behind her expressions, but at the same time she doesn't seem like she's trying very hard to impress the audience. It's the exact opposite of something like Charlize Theron's performance in Monster--Johansson is great in the way that Catherine Keener is. She's someone who you aren't automatically impressed by and I could see someone watching her performances and missing what the big deal is. I can more easily see a backlash against her, because she's getting huge aclaim for a performance that is often very minimal and where she often seems to be playing herself (even though there are some emotional scenes), than I could with the performances by Sean Penn or Charlize Theron or Naomi Watts. On the other hand, I have reason to believe Johansson does something more removed from her usual persona in Girl With A Pearl Earring, so that might be different, but even that performance is known for the fact that she has almost no lines and is supposed to be subtle to an extreme.I saw a Hepburn-Tracy scene on TV this morning—don't know what movie—and it reeked. She had to deliver a very stagey monologue, and she missed every opportunity to make it moving. He's much better, and I wondered if the concerned expression on his face betrayed the thought, man, she really isn't very good.