Biggest Hit: "Twister" (commercially), "As Good As It Gets" (critically)
Comeback Vehicle: "The Sessions"
Will It Work?: In the late '90s and early '00s, Helen Hunt was on top of the world. From the blockbuster success of "Twister" to scoring an Academy Award for her performance in James L. Brooks's "As Good As It Gets" to proving herself a capable romantic lead in "What Women Want" opposite a pre-scandal Mel Gibson, it seemed there was nothing she couldn't do. And then...well, she kind of disappeared. Resurfacing only intermittently in the intervening years ("A Good Woman" and "Bobby" are her only big-screen credits between 2001 and 2008), she seemed to be making a play for renewed relevance with her 2008 directorial debut/starring vehicle "Then She Found Me," but the film hardly made a blip with either critics or audiences. Now, of course, she's receiving some of the best reviews of her career for her role as a "professional sex surrogate" in writer/director Ben Lewin's "The Sessions" opposite John Hawkes, in a performance that will nevertheless probably take a backseat to her co-star's more "Oscar-friendly" turn come awards season. Still, Hunt hasn't enjoyed this kind of career momentum in a very long time.
- Chris Eggertsen