Happy birthday, Marisa Tomei!
The Oscar winner turned 49 today—we wouldn't have believed it except for all those pesky fan sites, IMDb, Wikipedia, etc.—and she is still going strong, both in the career and style department. She has no fewer than four films either in the works or headed for theaters and she's just as much of a glowing presence on the red carpet as ever.
Over the past 25 years, since her first major role playing Lisa Bonet's roommate Maggie on The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World, she has amassed quite the big-screen résumé.
There were a lot of movies to choose from, and some of your faves may have been left on the cutting-room floor, but here, in honor of her we-barely-believe-it birthday, are our picks for Marisa Tomei's six most memorable movie roles:
1. My Cousin Vinny, 1992: One of those weird Hollywood myths is that Tomei wasn't the intended recipient of the 1993 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, that Vanessa Redgrave was supposed to win. But no mistakes were made in our opinion, considering how unforgettable Tomei was as the fast-talking, biological-clock-ticking gearhead Mona Lisa Vito.
2. Untamed Heart, 1993: Who doesn't remember this romantic tearjerker, starring Tomei as a mousy waitress who's rescued from muggers by a brave-but-bashful busboy with a massive, sniff, heart surgery scar, played by Christian Slater in his heartthrob prime? "He doesn't make sense. I don't make sense. Together, we make sense." Sob!
3. In the Bedroom, 2001: Tomei scored her second Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for playing Nick Stahl's single-mom, older-woman girlfriend whose abusive ex sends the film spiraling into the tragic psychodrama zone.
4. Slums of Beverly Hills, 1998: As Natasha Lyonne's emotionally troubled, rehab-fleeing cousin, Rita, a more-waify-than-usual Tomei tought by being an example of what not to do. And introduced Lyonne's Vivian to her first vibrator.
5. The Wrestler, 2008: Tomei elevated the stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold role to new heights and notched her third Supporting Actress Oscar nomination opposite Mickey Rourke's scene-chewing, career-rejuvenating turn as Randy "The Ram" Robinson.
6. Cyrus: Tomei plays an immaturity-enabling single mom to Jonah Hill's awkward, possessive mama's boy. The mother-son stuff is intentionally pretty creepy, as seen written all over love interest John C. Reilly's oft-horrified face, but her burgeoning romance with Reilly is pure fractured-romcom fun.