In 2003, Tomei appeared in one of her biggest commercial hits, Anger Management.
The following year, she appeared in the film Alfie based on the 1966 British film of the same name.
In 2005, she was featured in an ad campaign for Hanes with the slogan "Look who we've got our Hanes on now", featuring various other celebrities including Michael Jordan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Matthew Perry.
In 2006, Tomei had a recurring role on Rescue Me, playing Johnny Gavin's ex-wife Angie.
The film was the 13th-highest grossing movie of 2007 (8,273,550 domestic box office).
In the episode, George Costanza attempts to get a date with her through a friend of Elaine Benes'.
American film critic Rex Reed created controversy (and a minor Hollywood myth) – Tomei called the story "extremely hurtful." A Price Waterhouse accountant explained that if such an event had occurred, "we have an agreement with the Academy that one of us would step on stage, introduce ourselves, and say the presenter misspoke." This was borne out by the events at the 2017 Oscars, when La La Land was first announced as the Best Picture winner based on an error in handling the award cards and the real winner was eventually announced as Moonlight.
After her Oscar win, Tomei appeared as silent film star Mabel Normand in the film Chaplin, with her then-boyfriend Robert Downey Jr. The following year, she starred in the romantic drama Untamed Heart with Christian Slater, for which they won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.
While there, she became captivated by the Broadway shows to which her theater-loving parents took her and was drawn to acting as a career.
At Andries Hudde Junior High School, she played Hedy La Rue in a school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Murrow High School in 1982, she attended Boston University for a year.