With another year of the Academy Awards come and gone, it feels pretty great to not feel the need to keep up with all of the nominated films. Don't get me wrong, I love the Oscars, but from time to time I just want to sit down and watch something funny and palatable, that doesn't involve too much thinking. Is that so wrong?
Lucky for me, there's a crossover between these two worlds! If you want to watch a show that's some real easy watching but with Oscar-worthy performances, look no further than Friends! Here are eleven actors who have made audiences laugh, as well as garnered mass critical acclaim.
1. Robin Williams
Academy Award: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Good Will Hunting (1997)
Episode: “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion,” S3E24
Along with his partner in crime, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams had fans everywhere cracking up on the set of Friends using one of his iconic voices. This comedy duo definitely made one of the best guest appearances in any TV show.
2. Brad Pitt
Academy Award: Best Motion Picture of the Year, 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Episode: “The One with the Rumor,” S8E9
Brad Pitt guest starred alongside his (at the time) wife Jennifer Anniston. In the episode Pitt plays an old high school classmate who still holds a grudge against Rachel's status as a popular girl.
3. Julia Roberts
Academy Award: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Erin Brockovich (2000)
Episode: “The One After the Superbowl: Part 2,” S2E13
Julia Roberts' character is of another person spurned by one of the Friends. Boy, does she get her revenge on Chandler.
4. Sean Penn
Academy Award: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Mystic River (2003) & Best Actor in a Leading Role, Milk (2008)
Episode: "The One with the Halloween Party" & "The One with the Stain," S8E6-7
Sean Penn played Ursula's fiancé Eric who, despite his best efforts and one attempted eye-stabbing, didn't end up with either of the Buffay sisters.
5. Reese Witherspoon
Academy Award: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Walk the Line (2005)
Episode: "The One with Rachel's Sister" & "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry," S6E13-14
How could anyone forget when Reese Witherspoon and Christina Applegate perfectly played Rachel's vain sisters (but sadly not in the same episode). I'm one of three sisters and I can attest to their dynamic.
6. George Clooney
Academy Award: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Syriana (2005) & Best Motion Picture of the Year, Argo (2012)
Episode: “The One with Two Parts,” S1E16-17
With Noah Wyle, the two E.R. doctors left Chicago for New York and with a new city lifestyle came two new love interests, Monica and Rachel. If only the girls hadn't briefly switched identities.
7. Susan Sarandon
Academy Award: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Dead Man Walking (1995)
Episode: “The One with Joey’s New Brain,” S7E15
Susan Sarandon played the fading Days of Our Lives star Jessica Lockhart. Not only did she leave Rachel and Monica starstruck, but she also taught Joey the "smell the fart" acting technique.
8. Charlton Heston
Academy Award: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Ben-Hur (1959)
Episode: "The One With Joey's Dirty Day," S4E14
A classic misunderstanding between Charlton Heston and Joey! It doesn't matter if you stink at your job, just don't use his shower.
9. Fisher Stevens
Academy Award: Best Feature Documentary, The Cove (2009)
Episode: "The One With the Boobies," S1E13
While Fisher Stevens is known for his work as a director, writer, producer in addition to being an actor, he also played "the shrink," one of Phoebe's least likable beaus on Friends.
10. Helen Hunt
Academy Award: Best Actress in a Leading Role, As Good as It Gets (1997)
Episode: “The One with Two Parts: Part 1,” S1E16
Helen Hunt played her Mad About You character, Jamie Buchman, who mistook Phoebe for her sister Ursula (that seems to happen quite a bit). Fun fact: Lisa Kudrow also played Ursula Buffay in Mad About You. You've got to love a good crossover!
11. Jim Rash
Academy Award: Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, The Descendants (2011)
Episode: "The Last One," S10E17-18
He made an appearance at the very end of the show, but Jim Rash's character may be part of the reason that Rachel got off the plane in the first place. This plane didn't even have a phalange, after all.
I wonder who of the many actors on the list of Friends guest stars will win an Oscar next? I have my money on Paul Rudd.
All of the skill of an Academy Award winner in only a half hour (or less). Thanks, Friends! Which of these Oscar-winner guest appearances is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section.