As Good as It Gets movie poster

It would prove a prophetic title for Helen Hunt, who won not only the Golden Globe but the Academy Award as well for her performance in this Golden Globe award-winning film. Unfortunately, her career from then on was all downhill. On the other hand, her co-star Jack Nicholson, who also won both awards that year, continued to enjoy wide acclaim.

1997 was a year of outstanding movies, both comedies, and dramas, but all of them were swamped by Titanic, not only at the Golden Globes but at the Oscars as well. As Good as It Gets was the third award winner in a row for writer-director James Brooks, the other two being Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News, but sadly it was his last successful film. Not only was it a critical success, it was also a huge box office hit, earning over $148 million domestically and $314 million worldwide. Brooks wrote the screenplay in collaboration with Marc Andrus, and as with his other movies, it had an unusual premise, this one involving a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive novelist, a single mother with a chronically ill son, and a gay artist. The latter role was played by Greg Kinnear, although Brooks’s first choice for the part was Geoffrey Rush. The other Golden Globe Best Comedy or Musical nominees were The Full Monty, Men in Black, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Wag the Dog.

Besides Nicholson, the nominees for Best Actor were Jim Carrey for Liar, Liar, Dustin Hoffman for Wag the Dog, Samuel L. Jackson for Jackie Brownand Kevin Kline for In & Out. Their female counterparts were Joey Lauren Adams for Chasing Amy, Pam Grier for Jackie Brown, Jennifer Lopez for Selena and Julia Roberts for My Best Friend’s Wedding. Three supporting actors from a comedy or musical were nominated for the supporting awards: Joan Cusack for In & Out, Rupert Everett for My Best Friend’s Wedding and Greg Kinnear for As Good As it Gets, but the winners, both from dramaswere Burt Reynolds for Boogie Nights and Kim Basinger for L.A. Confidential.

A sad note: there wasn’t a musical in the mix that year. Even the best song “My Heart Will Go On” came from a Drama, the unassailable Titanic. A footnote to history: 1998 was the year when every award prior to the Globes pointed to L.A. Confidential winning Best Picture. But once the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. chose Titanic, the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild and ultimately the Academy followed suit.