Julia Roberts is still cinema’s sweetheart. With a filmography that has amassed a collective gross of more than $3.9 billion globally, which is in the top 50 of any actors of all time, she has become one of the defining actors of her generation.
After an early breakout in “Mystic Pizza” (1985), Roberts’ explosion in Hollywood came with her work as the charming Shelby in “Steel Magnolias” (1989), which earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.
The following year, she gave the world Vivian Ward, the “hooker with a heart of gold” in Garry Marshall’s classic rom-com “Pretty Woman” (1990) opposite Richard Gere. She picked up her second nom for best actress and became one of the most famous celebrities in Hollywood.
Throughout most of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, earning between $20-25 million per film, which included “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997), “Notting Hill” (1999) and “Runaway Bride” (1999). When she was cast as the single mother in “Erin Brockovich” (2001) opposite Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart, she gained the respect of her peers that she so richly deserved. She steamrolled the awards season, winning the Golden Globe, SAG and eventually, the Oscar for best actress for her towering performance.
Not done yet, she moved into franchises such as “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) and “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and has worked with directors like Mike Nichols (“Charlie Wilson’s War” and “Closer”), Jodie Foster (“Money Monster”) and Peter Hedges (“Ben Is Back”).
Next on the docket for the star after the release of “Ticket to Paradise” with George Clooney is the upcoming thriller “Leave the World Behind,” based on the novel by Rumaan Alam. Distributed by Netflix, she will star alongside Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon.
In honor of her 55th birthday, Variety has ranked Roberts’ 10 best film performances below.
Honorable mentions: “Mystic Pizza” (1985); “Sleeping with the Enemy” (1991); “Stepmom” (1998); “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007); “Duplicity” (2009)
From Variety US