Memorable moments from stage and screen -- Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, and Edward Norton left lasting impressions in 1998

Jennifer Lopez
It’s not like we have to convince you that getting locked in a trunk with George Clooney was a good thing for Jennifer Lopez. But Out of Sight may have been the best thing for both their careers: Her icy hot federal marshal, thrown together with Clooney’s bank-robbing misfit, displayed charms beyond the obvious. And like a modern-day Ginger Rogers, the smoldering Lopez finally made classy Clooney sexy on the big screen. America’s women join its men in undying devotion.

Jim Carrey
No massive pompadour, no chipped tooth — perhaps we should start calling him James Carrey. As Truman Burbank — The Truman Show‘s unwitting boob-tube baby — Carrey gave a sincere, touching performance, morphing from ’50s-style innocent (all smiles and ”G’dafternoon, G’devening, and G’night”) to angry ’90s-era rager against the machine. It was a turn rivaled only by Carrey’s appearance on that other paean to postmodernism, The Larry Sanders Show. In the series’ finale, the comic serenaded Larry with a rapturous rendition of ”And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls. As the show cut to commercial, Carrey venomously about-faced, flipping Larry the bird — an audaciously bitter tribute to a bitter, bitter show.

Alex Kingston &amp Eriq La Salle
It’s always nifty to see ER‘s crew pull off a pericardial centesis or a bowel disimpaction. But this year no procedure provided quite as many thrills as the ongoing personality transplant Kingston’s Dr. Corday performed on La Salle’s Dr. Benton. After four seasons of stewing in besmocked crankiness, Surgeon Sourpuss is suddenly smiling, showing affection, even donning a Halloween costume (as ’70s detective hepcat Shaft, no less) — all to please his libertine limey lass. Just what the doctor ordered.

Matt Dillon
Yeah, sure, Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller were the adorable heart of There’s Something About Mary, but the gutsiest turn in the year’s most brazen love story came courtesy of former pretty boy (and Diaz ex) Matt Dillon. As dim-bulb private dick Pat Healy, he was the very soul of sleaze (greasy little mustache, tacky threads, absurdly oversize teeth). And as any Farrelly brothers fan can tell you, it’s the guy with the goofy choppers who always steals their shows.

Edward Norton
The most shocking moment in American History X is blink-and-you-miss-it brief. After watching Norton tear through a 118-minute film as the menacing and dangerously charismatic neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard, we flash back to a family dinner a decade earlier, when Derek was a gentle, pencil-thin, back-of-the-class slouch. Besides being a nifty trick, it’s also the precise moment you realize that it’s Norton’s colossal performance, not Tony Kaye’s arty direction, that makes the otherwise didactic X work.

De La Guarda
They came out of nowhere (well, technically, out of Argentina) and descended — literally — on the New York theater scene. Dangling from cables, pounding on drums, and baptizing the ecstatic young audiences in torrents of water, De La Guarda‘s acrobats made visceral art with rampant energy and free-flowing, wordless emotion. Since opening Off Broadway last summer, some of the original performers have been replaced by international actors, dancers, and athletes. But the 15-member troupe’s heart-pounding, groundbreaking appeal remains thoroughly intact.