Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Katherine Heigl was an experienced movie actress by the time she was cast as one of the out-of-this-world teenagers on WB's Roswell in 1999. Born and raised in Connecticut, Heigl began modeling and appearing in TV ads as a child. After making her film debut in That Night (1992), Heigl balanced movie work with high school, playing a small role in Steven Soderbergh's Depression-era drama King of the Hill (1993), starring as Gérard Depardieu's difficult daughter in My Father the Hero (1994), and Steven Seagal's niece in the action sequel Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995). Heigl headed to Los Angeles after high school to make acting her full-time job. Following a leading role in Wish Upon a Star (1996) and a small part as a Rita Hayworth stand-in in Stand-Ins (1997), Heigl made a foray into horror with Bug Buster (1998) and Bride of Chucky (1998).
Branching out into television, Heigl co-starred with Peter Fonda in a Shakespeare-via-Civil War reworking of The Tempest (1998). Benefiting from the late-'90s wave of youth-driven TV shows, Heigl stayed with television and attracted an avid following as alien beauty Isabel on the cult hit Roswell. The doctors-in-love dramedy Grey's Anatomy, however, catapulted its entire cast to full-fledged stardom when it premiered in 2005; Heigl's role as the tough-cookie intern Izzie endeared her to countless fans of the show. The actress savvily parlayed this success into a movie career, although not by going the traditional three-hanky drama route. After winningly playing a Special Olympics counselor in 2005's broad comedy The Ringer, Heigl seemed the perfect choice for writer-director Judd Apatow's follow-up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 2007's Knocked Up. The improv-heavy tale of an unlikely one-night-stand - and its consequences - relied upon Heigl's charm and crack comedic timing to balance out the dude-centric humor supplied by co-stars Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. The combination worked, as audiences made Knocked Up a bona-fide summer hit.