Rarely does a character's emotional transformation translate with as convincing sincerity as it does with As Good As It Gets' curmudgeonly Melvin Udall, played to perfection by Jack Nicholson. Mark Andrus and director James L. Brooks' bitterly funny and surprisingly touching script was tailored to Nicholson; he won his third Oscar as the lovable misanthrope. Helen Hunt broke out of the TV-sitcom ghetto with her Oscar-winning turn as a bittersweet, beleaguered waitress and single mom. Rounding out the circle of improbable friends, Greg Kinnear provides effortless work as the gay neighbor who provides an important role in Melvin's unlikely transformation. Ultimately, what makes the film succeed is its careful mix of laughs, melodrama and romance: the jokes always relate to the characters' development, and the more serious moments never devolve into sentimental treacle.