For seven long years, she was the girl in that failed movie/ TV show that you vaguely recognized. In 1994, she took the bus ride from hell with Keanu Reeves and became America’s new sweetheart. Now, after a decade and a half as the A-list star of various chick-flick hits, Sandra Bullock has begun a new stage of her career: Oscar nominee .
Oddly enough, Bullock’s sweet success was made bitter by another distinction: a Razzie nomination for Worst Actress. Being simultaneously nominated as the best and worst at your job is something truly rare. Yet, for Bullock, such a dichotomy seems oddly appropriate.
“I could not begin to tell you about the plot of the movie, because we’d be here for one hour and 35 minutes. I literally can’t. Next question,” Bullock said at the premiere for “All About Steve,” the film behind her Razzie noms. “It’s not complicated, but if you had to summarize your life in one little sentence for the media, could you do it?”
It certainly would be hard to briefly summarize Bullock’s life. Born to a German opera singer and her voice coach, Bullock’s maternal grandfather was a rocket scientist and the family moved frequently all over Europe and the U.S. A high school cheerleader who quit college only three credits short of graduating, she moved to Manhattan and worked as a coat checker to support herself. After starting out in junk like the TV movie “Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman” and the short-lived TV adaptation of “Working Girl,” she broke through in 1994’s “Speed.” (That’s three sentences — we cheated.)
“The worst thing that ever happened [after I became famous] was I was in a toilet stall at a club, and a camera came in underneath,” Bullock told us once of the downside of becoming a household name. “[It was] a still camera. I think I got everything covered pretty much, but you just go, ‘Oh my God, do you think I won’t just swing this stall door open and clock you one?’ But first, you have to pull the pants up, and it could get to be messy. That’s when you realize there are boundaries that will be crossed.
“Now I’m prepared for [fame], and I don’t use stalls anymore,” Bullock explained. “I hold it.”
That fame is only going to soar further now that, at age 45, she pulled off the back-to-back hits “The Proposal” and “The Blind Side,” the latter of which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination as outspoken football mom Leigh Anne Tuohy. But despite her hugely successful year, the dichotomy of her Oscar/Razzie noms reminds fans that for every “Blind Side” she has an “All About Steve,” for every “Speed” there’s been a “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” and for every “Miss Congeniality” her fans have had to sit through a “Two if by Sea.”
Much like such stars as Bruce Willis, Jim Carrey and Dennis Quaid, all her decades of hits had never translated into an Oscar nomination — until now. There have been some apparent Oscar-bait movies (“28 Days,” “Crash,” “Infamous”), but according to Bullock, she wasn’t even aiming for awards when she relented and agreed to be in “The Blind Side.”
“I’d always assumed that the road to Oscar was planned. I thought people chose projects that were considered ‘Oscar-worthy,’ ” Bullock said after learning about her nomination . “No one wanted to make this film. I didn’t want to make this film for the better part of the year. Everyone is as blindsided — can I say that? — as I am.”
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