Walk the Line was the first of three consecutive musicals to win Best Picture Golden Globes, and both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon won Globes for their roles in the film. Reese also won the Academy Award for her June Carter; in fact, she won every award that year except the National Board of Review’s, which went to Felicity Huffman for playing a transgender woman in Transamerica.
The movie was unique in that both Reese and Joaquin did their own singing. It follows Johnny Cash's early life, his romance with June Carter, and his ascent to the top of the country music scene. Not surprisingly, the film also had a long, checkered history. Johnny Cash had actually approached actor James Keach and his wife Jane Seymour about making a film of his life story. Keach contacted director James Mangold, and the project landed at Sony, but when it was about to go into production the studio got cold feet, and Fox stepped in.
The film was based on two autobiographies, Man in Black and Cash: The Autobiography. Phoenix had actually met Cash months before hearing about the film. When he first read the script, he felt there were at least ten other actors who would be better in the role. And even after being nominated for the Golden Globe, he was reluctant to attend the award ceremony. To prepare for her role as June Carter, Witherspoon watched videos of the singer and listened to her singing and telling stories to get her voice right.
The film was an immediate success with positive reviews for the film and raves all around for Witherspoon. The film established her as one of Hollywood’s A-list actresses. Phoenix went on to become one of the screen’s most respected actors giving an amazing performance in The Master and Inherent Vice. The two of them had such potent on-screen chemistry it was obvious that during the shooting the confirmed bachelor was infatuated with his married co-star.
All told, 2006 was a memorable year for comedies and musicals. The other Best Comedy and Musical nominees were Pride and Prejudice, The Squid and the Whale, Mrs. Henderson Presents, and The Producers. The other Best Actress nominees were Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents, Keira Knightley for Pride and Prejudice, Laura Linney for The Squid and the Whale, and Sarah Jessica Parker for The Family Stone.
Best Actor nominees besides Phoenix were Pierce Brosnan in The Matador, Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale, Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Nathan Lane in The Producers No comedy actresses were among the Best Supporting nominees but two actors were: Will Ferrell for The Producers and Bob Hoskins for Mrs. Henderson Presents. Neither won. All told, it was a very good year.