A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ron Howard showcased his love of a good underdog story in this biopic about mathematician John Nash. The film follows the genius Nash as he falls deeper and deeper into paranoia after the U.S. government asks him to help break Soviet codes -- it doesn't help that Nash is a diagnosed schizophrenic. Only his wife, Alicia, played by Jennifer Connelly (in the role that garnered her an Oscar), can help bring him back to reality. A Beautiful Mind swept the box office and the Oscars, earned Howard his first Best Director and Best Picture awards, and nabbed an award for Best Screenplay. You've come a long way, Opie.