Before there was Sandra Bullock intermingling rom-com fame and Oscar-winning drama, there was Julia Roberts. After one stint on a television show and an uncredited role in 1987's Firehouse, she made a big leap towards success with two films in 1988 -- Satisfaction and Mystic Pizza. Neither was a classic, to be sure, but both served as the perfectly effective stepping stone to stardom. Within a year, she had a co-starring role in Steel Magnolias. A year after that came Pretty Woman. Once Edward Lewis snapped Vivian Ward's fingers in that jewelry case and she laughed, Julia Roberts' fame was solidified.
What followed were the usual reactionary follow-ups to blockbuster roles. She flat-lined, slept with the enemy, and dealt with dying young. Then came Tinkerbell flittering, law studies, and journalism. Even years of so-so roles weren't able to slow her stardom, which was completely solidified in 2000, when she beat out Ellen Burstyn for the Best Actress Oscar. Erin Brockovich was far from the most worthy win -- she just took her ultra-famous sass and rom-com charisma and applied it to a serious role -- nevertheless, it changed her career.