Christie has turned down many leading roles in films such as They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Anne of the Thousand Days and The Greek Tycoon. Christie also signed on to play the female lead in American Gigolo opposite Richard Gere, however when Gere dropped out and John Travolta was cast in the role, Christie too dropped out from the project. Gere changed his mind and took back the role, however it was too late for Christie as her part was already taken by Lauren Hutton. Julie Christie also had to drop out of the leading role in Agatha due to breaking her wrist whilst roller-skating; the part was filled by Vanessa Redgrave.
Christie made a comeback with her appearance as Gertrude in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996). Despite her training, it was her first-ever venture into Shakespeare. She next starred as the unhappy wife in Alan Rudolph's domestic comedy-drama Afterglow (1997). Critics were delighted with her performance, for which she received her third Oscar nomination. However, rather than capitalizing on her comeback, Christie continued her nonchalant attitude towards acting. Since her last Oscar nomination, she has appeared mostly in small roles in English and American films.
Christie's latest portrayal is the female lead in Away From Her, a film about a long-married Canadian couple coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. Based on the Alice Munro short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain", the movie is the first feature film directed by Christie's sometime co-star, Canadian actress Sarah Polley. She only took the role, she says, as Polley is her friend. On her part, Polley said that Christie liked her script but initially turned it down as she was ambivalent about acting. It took several months of persuasion by Polley before Christie finally accepted the role, which was written with her in mind.
Christie made a brief appearance in the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), playing Madame Rosmerta. That same year, she also appeared in two other high-profile films: Wolfgang Petersen's Troy, and Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, in which she played Kate Winslet's mother.