Sweet cinema: Key credits in Roberts filmography
EmptyAmerican Cinematheque honors Julia Roberts
Mystic Pizza (1988)
Director: Donald Petrie; Boxoffice receipts: $12.8 million*
It had a $6 million budget and an ensemble cast, but "Mystic Pizza" nevertheless launched Roberts' star, catapulting her from TV appearances on shows like "Miami Vice" to a career as a leading lady. Her turn also earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Director: Herbert Ross; Boxoffice receipts: $83.8 million
As the sweet Southern belle and diabetic Shelby, Roberts gave Debra Winger's hospital scenes in 1983's "Terms of Endearment" a run for their money. The role, which was reportedly first offered to Winona Ryder and then to Meg Ryan (who chose to do 1989's "When Harry Met Sally" instead), earned Roberts her first Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for best supporting actress.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Director: Garry Marshall. Boxoffice receipts: $178.4 million
Rushed into production by fear of an impending strike, "Pretty Woman" was low on Disney's priority list but went on to become the biggest boxoffice earner of the year. Roberts was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe award for her lead role but earned only about $300,000 for the film. Her salary more than tripled for 1991's "Sleeping With the Enemy." It tripled again for that year's "Dying Young," before rising to $7 million for 1991's "Hook." Not bad for an annual raise.
My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
Director: P.J. Hogan; Boxoffice receipts: $126.8 million
Roberts' streak at the boxoffice continued with this romantic comedy, in which she stars as a woman who almost lets the "one" get away. Paired with Rupert Everett, Roberts had a hard time keeping a straight face in a scene where she needs to act embarrassed. "So much madness was coming out of his mouth that she kept cracking up," Hogan says. "I finally bet her $100 she couldn't keep a straight face, and she did. The moment I called 'cut,' she came over and held her hand out and waited until I put $100 in it." Roberts earned a Golden Globe nom and proved her instinct as a budding producer, reportedly requesting a pre-"There's Something About Mary" (1998) Cameron Diaz as her co-star.
Notting Hill (1999)
Director: Roger Michell; Boxoffice receipts: $116 million
After a decade of $100 million-plus hits like 1993's "The Pelican Brief" -- and only a few stumbles like 1996's "Mary Reilly" -- Roberts' cutting sendup of Anna Scott, a superstar who falls in love with Hugh Grant's bookstore owner, earned her a Globe nomination and a $15 million paycheck, the same amount her fictional character is paid for a role.
Runaway Bride (1999)
Director: Garry Marshall; Boxoffice receipts: $152.1 million
Roberts reteamed with "Pretty Woman's" Richard Gere and Marshall, but the director says it was an entirely different experience. "On the first movie, Richard was teaching her to play the guitar because they had nothing to do. Now, they were famous. When we were filming outside, Julia and I used to put our foreheads together, pretending to talk about a scene, and she'd say, 'There's a photographer to the right up in the tree.'"
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Director: Steven Soderbergh; Boxoffice receipts: $125.5 million
Playing gritty rather than glamorous as a real-life single mother who crusades against a corrupt power company, Roberts scored her first Oscar in addition to a Golden Globe. She also made history by becoming the first actress to crack the $20 million ceiling for a role. Brockovich, by comparison, received a reported $100,000 for her life rights.
Director: Mike Nichols; Boxoffice receipts: $34 million
After starring roles in projects like 2001's "The Mexican" and "America's Sweethearts" and ensemble parts in 2001's "Ocean's Eleven" and 2002's "Full Frontal," Roberts co-starred with Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman in this dark romance as divorced photographer Anna -- reminding audiences that she had finally outgrown her romantic comedy persona. She would appear in only one additional film -- 2004's Ocean's Twelve" -- for the next three years, opting instead for voice work in animated features like 2006's "Charlotte's Web" while raising her children.