Three Oscar-winning actresses —Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger — are showcased in new compilation DVD sets featuring each of them in a quartet of their most memorable roles. They show off their versatility in everything from romantic comedies to dark dramas, whimsical fantasies and taut thrillers. Each film comes with audio commentaries, deleted scenes and other featurettes.
Paltrow won a best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Lady Viola in 1998's Shakespeare in Love, the lead entry of Gwyneth Paltrow: 4 Film Collection (1996-2003, Lionsgate, PG-R, $20). Joseph Fiennes stars in the romantic comedy's title role as the Bard, who finds in Viola a cure for his writer's block. When they meet, she is already betrothed to someone else and is impersonating a man so that she can get the lead role in his latest production. Shakespeare, which also starred Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Ben Affleck, won seven Oscars, including best picture.
In 1996's Emma, which is based on Jane Austen's classic novel, Paltrow's title character drives her friends nuts with her matchmaking until she winds up in love herself. The film, set in 19th-century England, also stars Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor and Jeremy Northam.
Paltrow stars opposite Affleck in 2000's Bounce as two strangers brought together by tragedy. Affleck is an ad exec ridden by guilt after he switched places with a fellow traveler who had been bumped from a flight that later crashes. He becomes close with the man's divorced wife and sons, but their relationships are jeopardized when his role in the man's death is revealed.
In the 2003 romantic comedy View from the Top, Paltrow plays a small-town Nevada girl who follows her dream to become an international flight attendant.
Cold Mountain starred both Kidman and Zellweger, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress — one of the film's seven nominations. It is the only film that shows up on the collections of two of the stars. W.P. Inman (Jude Law) is a wounded Confederate deserter who makes a dangerous trek home to reunite with lover Ada (Kidman), who is in dire financial straits. Ruby Thewes (Zellweger) tries to help Ada hold on to to her farm.
Kidman earned a best-actress nomination for 2010's Rabbit Hole, in which she and Aaron Eckhart play a grieving couple torn apart by the accidental death of their four-year-old son.
In the 2001 psychological thriller The Others, Kidman plays a mother with two young children who suffer from photo-sensitivity while living in a remote country house. Strange occurrences convince her family that they are not alone.
The 2003 drama Dogville finds Kidman cast as a woman on the run from the mob, who takes refuge in a small mountain town where she has to work and endure abuse from the townsfolk to keep from being turned over to the gangsters.
The Zellweger collection is topped by the 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Diary, in which she plays a single thirtysomething career woman. She's hoping to find Mr. Right and is torn between characters played by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
Zellweger earned a best-actress nomination for the 2002 musical Chicago, which received 13 nominations and won in six categories including best picture. She plays Roxie, a murderous showgirl with stars in her eyes opposite supporting-actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones' killer showgirl Velma.
The heartwarming 2009 romantic comedy New in Town stars Zellweger as a high-powered Miami consultant. She's sent to oversee the shutdown of a manufacturing plant in a small Minnesota town that she's grown to like and is forced to re-evaluate her priorities. And, there's a romance with Harry Connick Jr., to consider.